Exeter v Saracens: Salary cap row cannot distract Chiefs, says boss Rob Baxter

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Exeter lose to Saracens
Exeter have lost to Saracens in three of the last four Premiership finals

Exeter boss Rob Baxter does not want the salary cap row to detract from his side's preparation for their Premiership meeting with Saracens.

Chiefs lost the last two Premiership finals to Saracens, who have since been docked 35 points for breaching the salary cap over the past three seasons.

Sunday's game is the first time the two have met since June's final.

"What I don't want is guys stewing or overthinking the game and burning up their nervous energy now," Baxter said.

"But I think come the end of the week it's probably the right thing. If there's anything that particularly needles you or aggravates you or motivates you - Saracens will use them all in their personal motivation - there's nothing wrong with our lads using it in their personal motivation as well."

Exeter were one of the clubs most aggrieved as a result of Saracens' transgressions - chief executive Tony Rowe called for the champions to be relegated, while in the aftermath Baxter said Saracens had beaten Exeter in two finals "unfairly".

"It was interesting before and it's even more interesting now," Baxter added to BBC Sport about Sunday's game.

"We're in that period in the run up to this game where we've got to lock down and really focus on ourselves.

"We do that really well in most other games and we've got to make sure that's what we do this week, we've got to lock down and focus on ourselves."

But the Exeter boss hopes the Sandy Park crowd are respectful of their opponents as they look to beat Saracens for a fourth successive time at home.

"For the sake of what's good in rugby I would like to think our supporters are civil and welcoming to the Saracens supporters, but I kind of know they will be," Baxter added.

"Over the years the amount of emails and letters I've received from visiting supporters who've dropped something into the club to say what a fantastic day they've had - and most of them have lost, so they're not saying it because they've come here and won - they've said they've enjoyed coming to a proper rugby club and mingling with proper rugby fans.

"Those part of things should never change. That should be what rugby's about. That's probably why we as a club are a little aggravated by what the salary cap investigation has pointed out because that's not what rugby's about."

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