Exeter Chiefs: Rob Baxter faces 'difficult' fly-half choice

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Henry Slade (left) and Gareth Steenson
Both Henry Slade (left) and Gareth Steenson have scored 27 points in a Premiership game this season

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter says he finds it "difficult" deciding whether to select Gareth Steenson or Henry Slade at fly-half.

Steenson, 30, is the Premiership's leading points scorer this season, having scored 174 points in 15 games.

But Slade, 21, has started the last two games ahead of Steenson, kicking 36 points and scoring two tries.

"We're not always sure which way to go, and they certainly make it very difficult for us," said Baxter.

"I don't think you can keep them both happy.

"But what you can do is try to be fair with the selections you make and I think the two results we've had recently show we've probably made the right selections with that back-line."

Steenson v Slade
Gareth SteensonHenry Slade
Age: 30Age: 21
Premiership games in 14-15: 15Premiership games in 14-15: 15
Points in 14-15: 174Points in 14-15: 78
Record points haul in one game: 27 (nine penalties v Saracens, Nov 2014)Record points haul in one game: 27 (one try, six penalties and two conversions v Harlequins, Feb 2015)

Slade, who has scored five tries for Exeter this season, has played much of his time at centre to accommodate Steenson, who equalled the Premiership record of in November's

"Gareth's a very important part of the team and the squad here, he's an absolutely fantastic goal kicker, but he's a lot more than that as well," Baxter told BBC Sport.

"He's a leader, he's a motivator and a driver of what we want to achieve as a side and he will feature a lot for us.

"I think the battle between Gareth and Henry for the 10 spot is fantastic, it's exactly what we want in every position on the pitch.

"I've talked about us wanting to be a big side, and you've got to have competitions like that.

"I can't see a time when Gareth Steenson is out of the team long term because there's so many factors and he's got so many qualities that will drive him back in there."