Rob Baxter is looking forward to Exeter’s hardest challenge so far this season, knowing that on Saturday at the Ricoh Arena, Wasps will be out for vengeance. The 2020 Gallagher Premiership final will be made up and the side of Baxter will look to strengthen their poor record at their opponents’ home, where they have won only once since 2015.
Their last visit to Coventry was also their last loss, when in October a depleted side was demolished 46-5. Exeter’s Tom Wyatt is tackled at the Ricoh Arena by Wasps’ Josh Bassett (David Davies/PA) The climax of last season is of greater significance, when Exeter led until the final second in a 19-13 victory at Twickenham and Wasps struggled to capitalize on an attacking line-out in the closing stages. “Wasps enjoys how they play and plays with a lot of energy. No one knows better than me how hard it is to go there and get a win,” said Baxter, head coach of Chiefs-Rugby. “They have a lot of confidence and there will be an element that they will want to get back after the final to prove a point there. “We’re going to have to have more stamina against Gloucester than last weekend because it’s going to be a difficult and quick game. But we need that thing – a difficult, demanding game away from home. “That should be the kind of game that prepares us for our return to Europe in a couple of weeks. “The preparation of Wasps for the final was disrupted by a coronavirus outbreak that seriously curtailed their training, while treacherous conditions prevented them from playing the attacking rugby style that had brought them to the final. “What a great challenge – to play the European and Premiership champions. We went into the game at Twickenham with the aim of beating them, but when we got there it was pouring with rain. We have a plan very similar to the plan for the final until the conditions changed our plan that day. We hope to have better conditions on Saturday. “What a great challenge – to play the European and Premiership champions. We went into the Twickenham game with the goal of beating them, but it was pouring with rain when we got there. We have a plan very similar to the final plan until that day the conditions changed our plan. We have a plan very similar to the final plan. They missed a line-out at their own throw from five metres out as the clock wound down, which would have been the basis of a surprise win. “I’ve put that issue to bed. Personally and as a team, we put it behind us. Everything we went through this week and where we are now with five meters to go makes me insanely proud of our performance. We only had one practice session before the game and we put ourselves in a position to win. The week and a half before the final was brutal. I don’t think I slept an hour a night on average. ” The chance we had, but we didn’t manage to take it. “Yes, the disappointment is big, but it’s not something we’re sad about. We’re proud that we made it, and yes, there’s a bit of regret, but for me it’s really over. “As they host Sale at Kingsholm, Gloucester will aim to pick up their second win in five games on Saturday.