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    06 December 2023

    Rob Baxter: Exeter won’t burden youthful team with expectations for Toulon away game

    Rob Baxter: No Pressure on Young Exeter Side Ahead of Toulon Challenge

    In an exciting European Champions Cup clash, Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter is not putting excessive pressure on his young team as they prepare to face the star-studded Toulon side. Despite their recent struggles away from home, with just one victory in 13 months across all competitions, Baxter sees this match as a valuable learning opportunity.

    “For me, this is a great opportunity for the team to learn and gain a fantastic experience about the kind of games that, in the future, we will have some expectation of winning,” said Baxter.

    Baxter acknowledges that while he expects his team to perform well and give their best effort against Toulon’s formidable lineup featuring players such as Dan Biggar, Charles Ollivon and Melvyn Jaminet; he remains cautious about setting unrealistic expectations:

    “I want them to go over there and enjoy the experience and enjoy playing well together to take everything out of the game they can, but I’m definitely keeping it that simple.”

    A New Era for Exeter Rugby

    With several key players departing since their triumphant 2020 Champions Cup win, Exeter now finds itself fielding a new-look squad with many players set to make their European debuts. While their previous away results have been less than stellar, including last week’s defeat at Bath (41-24), Baxter believes facing off against tough opponents like Toulon will contribute significantly to his team’s growth:

    “We want everyone to experience it, we want everyone to learn from it. I’m pretty confident every player will improve from the experience and we’ll give it our best shot,” said Baxter.

    A Serious Test of Skill

    Although Exeter aims to enjoy their time in Toulon, they approach this match with utmost seriousness and determination:

    “We’re not going there to just throw the ball around and smile and laugh in the sun; we’re going there to play a serious game of rugby and take everything out of the game we can,” explained Baxter.

    Gaining Experience Regardless of Outcome

    Baxter hopes that regardless of the final scoreline, his team will gain valuable experience that contributes positively towards their future performances:

    “Hopefully that’ll be some points, but if not, it should be some very good experience and some very important things we can learn from.”

    In conclusion, Exeter’s clash against Toulon presents an opportunity for their young side to grow both individually and collectively. Although aware of their recent struggles away from home, Rob Baxter remains focused on fostering a positive learning environment rather than placing undue pressure on his players. The outcome may be uncertain, but one thing is for sure – Exeter will approach this match with dedication and determination.

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