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'We've taken a few knocks... It's only 13 months since we won the double'

By PA
Bath Rugby v Exeter Chiefs – Gallagher Premiership – The Recreation Ground

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Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter is convinced that his team are now finding their mojo again after a late Sam Simmonds try at Bath earned a fifth victory in nine Premiership matches.

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England number eight Simmonds touched down three minutes from time in a 23-16 win, brother Joe adding the key conversion and a last-minute penalty.

Baxter said: “We’ve taken a few knocks, including losing the final last year. We probably haven’t really got ourselves over that.

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“It’s only 13 months since we won the double. We’re still dealing with some of that, deciding how we want to define ourselves as a group.

“But we’re coming together. We’ve won an away game. I’ll take that at any time.”

Josh Iosefa-Scott scored the Chiefs’ first try and Henry Slade kicked eight points, with Miles Reid crossing for Bath while Orlando Bailey converted and kicked three penalties.

Baxter added: “Every win is a good win for us at the moment. One thing we need to address more than anything is getting back to those core basics, about what being a rugby player is all about.

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“It’s a privilege. We should be enjoying training hard, being on the bus together and enjoying playing games of rugby.

“We’ve probably lacked a little bit of vibrancy. I do think it’s there but it’s not going to come overnight. We’ve got to work at it.

“We were down 10-6 at half-time. We said the next 10 minutes was where we could make a difference and we worked fantastically hard for our try.

“Our set-piece gained strength and things started to go our way. It took us longer than we would have liked to break them down. But we broke them down just at the right time.”

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Surveying an eighth straight defeat in the league, Bath head coach Neal Hatley said: “We’ve talked all week about key areas that were going to be massively important. For large parts of the game, we delivered on that.

“There are points in a game where it is nip and tuck – three points or four points. If you don’t put chances away, you get punished and that’s what happened.

“In the first half I thought our set-piece was outstanding. Our scrum was good and we squeezed their line-out. We put pressure on them aerially. They made some changes and brought on Harry Williams and Ben Moon, two internationals, which is a great position for them to be in.

“The spirit has always been there. I can’t fault this group for the way they turn up, ready to work. It’s a young bunch, with Max Ojomoh, Orlando Bailey, people like that, and Miles Reid, Josh Bayliss. I never look at this group and question their spirit.”

The first win is still eluding them though, as Hatley acknowledged.

“There are still those moments in attack when we had opportunities,” he said. “But if we were not creating those opportunities, we’d have been having an entirely different conversation. We have just got to be sure we finish those off.”

Hatley said try-scorer Reid would be undergoing a scan after leaving the field with a pectoral muscle problem.

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