Rob Baxter has insisted that his Exeter Chiefs side will not be paying any heed to their previous results against Leinster in Saturday’s European heavyweight clash.
Exeter have never beaten Leinster in four encounters in the Heineken Champions Cup, but will be full of confidence ahead of their quarter-final with the Irish province having won the tournament last year.
Chiefs head coach Baxter was speaking to RTE ahead of the game at Sandy Park and disregarded his side’s previous results in the fixture.
— Exeter Chiefs (@ExeterChiefs) April 7, 2021
“It’s a very significant challenge, but is it any bigger than last season? You’ve got to get perspective and move on from the history of seven, eight, nine or 10 years ago,” Baxter said.
“Leinster were the first team we played in the Heineken Cup in 2012 and there was a fair bit of underestimation from them… they sneaked through 9-6 over in Ireland.
“Since then we’ve met a few times and they’ve come out on top, but we’ve moved on to a degree.”
‘It’s about the here and now.’
While the Exeter boss wouldn’t go so far as to say that he expected his side to win at Sandy Park on Saturday evening, he rejected the suggestion that his team would be the underdogs in the fixture.
“I’m not saying we’re meeting on a level playing field, but it’s far more level than to talk about past history too much.
‘Exeter are not double champions by chance.’ 👇
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) April 6, 2021
“If we talked about history then Exeter would never be near the final of the Premiership or a European Cup. We’ve now won both. So it’s about the here and now and the here and now is that we have an expectation to do well.”
Exeter started poorly against Lyon in their last 16 Champions Cup clash but responded strongly to eventually defeat the French Top 14 side by 22 points.
Leinster ultimately had a weekend off after their fixture against Toulon was cancelled due to a positive coronavirus case in the French club’s squad, and will be eager to get back to the playing field against Exeter.