'We're in good nick' - Baxter
By Mark Stevens
Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter believes his side are in "good nick" as the race to secure a place in the top six of this season's Aviva Premiership hots up.
Dean Mumm's first try for the Chiefs ensured the Devon club picked up their third top flight win in four games with a hard fought 24-18 victory over Worcester Warriors at Sixways.
With just two minutes remaining, the Aussie international found his way over from close range to seal a vital four points for Baxter's men and condemn their opponents to another late defeat.
Although the Chiefs - who scored further points through tries by Luke Arscott (pictured) and Gareth Steenson, remain eighth in the table, they are crucially just two points adrift of sixth-placed Bath with just three fixtures remaining in the season. London Irish at home await next for Exeter, before they travel to seventh-placed London Wasps and then entertain Gloucester on the final day.
And, according to Baxter, it's all to play for in what should be a thrilling climax to the campaign. Speaking after his side's latest success, he said: "We're obviously delighted with the four points. I think if you asked any coach in the Premiership they would tell you any away win is a fantastic win. I thought we did well for large parts, but so too did Worcester and that us a lot of problems.
"I think for the neutral that game probably had everything. You have one team getting away; one getting back into the game in the second half; and then it turning around again at the end. As I said, I'm massively pleased with the win, but I was a little disappointed that we almost stopped playing for 20 minutes after half time and that should have cost us the game. That said, fair play to the players they stuck at it, we got on the Worcester try line a fair bit in that final quarter. At first t looked like everything was going to go against us, but in the end we forced enough possession and forced enough territory to get the vital score in the game."
Having claimed victory in the dying minutes at Sixways the previous season, Baxter praised the character of his team as they battled away to restore their advantage late on.
"I think it does say a lot about the character of the Exeter team, but I also says a lot about the character of the Worcester players as well," said Baxter. "Simply because when they got a sniff of it in the second half, they really came after us. You could see it was a tough old game out there and sometimes people underestimate the level of the Premiership because every game is hard.
"We next coming to Worcester that it's never an easy game, you know it's going to be tough. You only have to look at the teams they've beaten here this season and the results they've had to know how tough a place this is to come. I think this is a result we can be very proud of because Worcester have a good home record and we are one of only a few sides to have come here and won."
Certainly the Chiefs are beginning to show the sort of form that can earn them a place back amongst Europe's elite again next season - and Baxter is keen for his team to maintain their push for glory over the remaining weeks of the season.
"This win means we're keeping things in our own hands, which is what we want to do," explained Baxter. "We've said to the guys that we want to keep things in our own hands for as long as we can and that we don't want to rely on other results. We still have three games left, two of which are against sides above us, but first and foremost we've got a few days off now, let’s enjoy Easter, and then when we come back in let’s get ready to face what will be a resurgent London Irish side.
"Our form, though, is good. If you think of our last four games, three of them have been wins and we had a narrow three point loss to Leicester, so we're in good nick at the moment. What we have to do now is keep ramming it home and believing in it. Had we not taken our foot off the pedal for 20 minutes in second half, I would have been feeling a bit more comfortable sat in the stands, but Worcester are a team of characters, especially at home, so you expect them to come back at you."