Wednesday 25 April 2018

Baxter left fuming at TMO call

Toulon 32 Exeter 20

Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter
Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter

Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter was fuming at the TMO in the wake of his side's likely Heineken Cup exit in Toulon.

Baxter felt the first half pass from Matt Giteau to Dave Smith was three metres forward, yet the TMO gave Irish referee John Lacey the go ahead to award the score. That put Toulon in control of the game.

"With the TMO, it looks a little like if you throw a ball forward, you're more likely to get the try awarded than in any other way," said Baxter.

"The ball did look like it went three metres forward. Someone is going to have to make some kind of a rule. It looked forward, but there's been quite a few forward passes that have been allowed. It's more of a decision for the governing bodies."

Baxter pledged his side will go flat out in their final two Heineken Cup pool matches despite the bitter disappointment of losing both back-to-back games against reigning champions Toulon. Their 32-20 defeat at Stade Mayol followed their 14-9 loss at Sandy Park a week earlier and effectively put them out of the running for a quarter-final place. They face Glasgow Warriors and Cardiff Blues to finish off the pool.

"To give this competition the credit that it should have, we have to go absolutely flat out in our next two games," Baxter continued. "Toulon and Cardiff are the two teams in control of the pool, the only way we can justify us taking part in the competition is going flat out when we play Cardiff. We like the Heineken Cup, we like the experience it gives to our players, it's been a great tour for developing the way we play and increasing the intensity of our game."

Toulon are now two points clear of Cardiff Blues, who they play at home in the next round, and seemingly on course for the quarter-finals. The French team's director of rugby Bernard Laporte said: "This was probably our best game in a while. There was a lot of positive things to take away from it. But today was probably our fullest game in the last two months. I don't like saying we are defending champions. If you're defending something, it means you can lose it. No one can take away what we did last year.

"This is a new season, everyone started over and we want to go get a new title. We're not defending, we've started a new campaign, a new conquest. This is the Heineken Cup, everything can go one way or the other in a heartbeat. We'll be lucky enough to play home against Cardiff next month, it's up to us to do the job and win that game."

Irish Independent

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