Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter believes the English club have “a glimmer” of hope of reaching the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup after their 29-17 Round 4 victory at Gloucester Rugby.
The bonus-point win leaves Exeter third in Pool 2 with eight points, just four behind leaders Munster Rugby, whom they travel to face in Round 6 on January 19.
With a home clash against TOP 14 champions Castres Olympique on January 13 in Round 5, Baxter highlighted the importance of that match.
“These five points certainly mean there is now real value in the Castres home game, which is fantastic for us as a club,” Baxter told Exeter’s website.
“Now the supporters can come and there is a glimmer for them, because at the end of the day, if we can go to Munster with something to play for, it’s almost like you’ve qualified for the last 16 and you’re fighting to get into that last eight.
“That would be a fantastic thing to look forward to, if we can get there. For now, we have just got to accept a few lessons that probably – and I have to hold my hand up here – were dripping into our levels of performance for probably four or five weeks.
After the disappointment of last week, thrilled with the bounce back & performance from the @ExeterChiefs lads tonight. Keeps the @ChampionsCup alive for us. Huge thanks to the traveling tribe who braved the cold to cheer us on tonight 👏💪 #muchappreciated #chiefs
— Gareth Steenson (@steeno10) December 14, 2018
“It’s like anything. When you’ve won every Premiership game, you have drawn with Munster and only lost by four to the French champions, it’s so easy not to want to over-react to things.”
However, Baxter is keen to stress that the Gloucester victory will not change how his side approach the competition, having only reached the knockout stages once.
“The key now for us is to move on,” he added. “Just because we won doesn’t mean all of a sudden we’re a dominant side in the Heineken Champions Cup.
“We weren’t last week and we weren’t a couple of months ago over in Castres. Nothing flips that quickly.”