Exeter can ‘move on’ from salary cap row after Saracens win – Rob Baxter

Exeter celebrate beating Saracens

Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter says his team can “move on” from the salary cap row after beating Saracens.

Exeter were one of most aggrieved teams at Saracens’ indiscretions having lost the past two Premiership finals to Sarries, who breached the cap in each of the past three years.

Saracens were docked 35 points and fined £5.36m over the affair.

“The best thing about getting today’s game done is we can move on,” director of rugby Baxter told BBC Sport.

“We don’t play Saracens again until near the end of the Premiership campaign and we need to get it done and move on as there are a lot of other important games to play and a lot of other important points to try to collect.

“You look around and there’s been so much media focus on this game and the competition over the last couple of years between ourselves and Saracens that we’ve got to make sure our focus can move beyond Saracens, because we’re only going to play them once more.

“People have got to be careful if they think that Exeter’s only motivation is Saracens, it’s not.

“Saracens is one step of the journey, our motivation is being successful ourselves.”

The 14-7 win lifted Exeter back to the top of the Premiership, a point ahead of Northampton, while Saracens are on -12 points, 18 behind 11th-placed Leicester.

‘You can’t run away from the effect it’s had on other people’s lives’

Tony Rowe (left) and Rob Baxter (right)

But Baxter did admit that Saracens’ breaches of the salary cap had left a stain on the game.

Exeter 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”.

“There are supporters of rugby clubs who have watched coaches getting sacked and players leave and all different kinds of things, and part of that has been Saracens cheating. You can’t run away from it,” Baxter told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“You can’t run away from the effect it’s had on other people’s lives, and I think that’s the bit that sometimes is a little bit frustrating for people involved in rugby.

“Sometimes the people who have pointed out that Saracens have cheated almost get pointed out to be the bad guys. The people who have made comment on it aren’t the cheats. And that is the bit that some rugby supporters have felt more frustrated about than anything else.

“Rugby isn’t about what I think or what Tony Rowe thinks, but if the supporters out there – 12,000 of them – are feeling like that, then that probably tells you what the general rugby fan is feeling about it and sometimes that’s something that gets glossed over a bit.”

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BBC Sport – Rugby Union

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