Rob Baxter: Exeter Chiefs remain focused on Europe's elite

Rob Baxter

Exeter boss Rob Baxter says securing a place amongst Europe's elite clubs next season remains the club's aim despite ongoing uncertainty about the continental competition.

The Chiefs' second successive Heineken Cup campaign ended with a 19-13 victory at the Cardiff Blues last month.

Baxter is now focused on qualify for the proposed European Cup alternative with a top-half Premiership finish.

"We definitely want to be involved in that," he told BBC Radio Devon.

"I do have a feeling there will be a top-level competition of some sort."

Baxter said featuring in the top tier of European competition has been the measure of the club's meteoric rise in recent years, having been promoted from England's second-tier Championship in 2010.

He cited battling performances against Toulon and booking a LV= Cup semi-final at Bath as further proof of club's progress.

"We are already doing better in the LV= Cup by getting through to the semi-finals, but we have some big battles ahead to at least maintain our record of the last couple of years in the Premiership - that is important to us," Baxter said.

"We talk a lot about making sure we are comparable to where we were the year before and moving forward. We have kind of achieved that in the Heineken Cup by collecting more points and being more competitive in some big games despite not going through.

"We know we have to keep moving forward and trying to improve, but that doesn't mean we get panicked when losing to Toulon at home and away - you must be the best team in Europe if you get panicked by that."

Exeter, who are eighth in the Premiership table and just three points behind London Wasps in sixth, play three of their next four league games at home.

It is now at Sandy Park, starting against Northampton on Saturday, where Baxter believes they can build the momentum gained in Europe and the Cup.

"Let's not think we are ticking along quite nicely because we won three games. Now is the time to knuckle down and make sure we take another step forward," he said.

"We have to get really good results from our next fixtures if we want to be anywhere near to where we were last year."

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