Beaten Exeter coach Baxter hails Saracens as English club rugby’s best

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Saracens were acclaimed as the greatest English club side of all time by the opponents they edged 37-34 in a thrilling Gallagher Premiership final at Twickenham.

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter saluted the double winners, who were recently crowned Champions Cup winners, after his Chiefs saw a 27-16 lead overturned by tries from Liam Williams, Sean Maitland and Jamie George.

Since 2011 Saracens have won four Premiership titles and three European Cups, completing two doubles in the process.

“They probably are,” said Baxter, when asked if this Saracens team was the best English club side of all time.

“Their record speaks for itself. They’re winning Premierships, they’re winning European Cups.

“It feels to me like we’re disappointed that we haven’t beaten them, so that bodes well for Exeter Chiefs as well.

“What I have to do now is convince this group of players that if they keep working hard and moving in the right direction we should be challenging again next year.

“If you can take the European champions that close then there has to be more in Europe for us.”

Exeter’s misery deepened when brilliant full-back Jack Nowell hobbled off with what appeared to be a serious injury to his left ankle sustained during a tackle by Alex Lozowski.

Exeter Chiefs v Saracens – Gallagher Premiership Final – Twickenham Stadium
Exeter’s Jack Nowell was left on crutches following his side’s defeat to Saracens. (Paul Harding/PA)

“It’s a little early to say about Jack. I haven’t been able to catch up with him or the medics who are dealing with him,” Baxter said.

“I would imagine it will be the usual story – until he has a scan we won’t know. It looked like his ankle and he has had a couple of ankle issues this season.

“He was outstanding. He was very difficult to put on the floor, very strong, quick and elusive.”

Saracens boss Mark McCall came out the winning side of the highest-scoring final of all time, while his players also produced the greatest comeback in the history of the showpiece.

“We huffed and puffed, but somehow this group found a way physically and emotionally,” McCall said.

“It was a really tough final – the toughest we’ve ever had in the Premiership. We couldn’t control them but somehow this group never ceases to amazes me in finding a way and the energy.

“We looked tired and once we went three points up we played great pressure rugby and it was a real masterclass.

“It’s our seventh consecutive win in a final, which is an incredible achievement from this group of players. This is our most-satisfying win because it’s the worst we’ve played.”

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