Cheika expected a tough outing
April 6, 2012
Stade Francais boss Michael Cheika was impressed by Exeter © Getty Images
Stade Francais boss Michael Cheika admitted that he expected a tough outing after his side were pushed to the wire by Exeter in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
Stade prevailed 22-17 at the Stade Charlety after a late try from Samoan international Paul Williams, booking a second successive semi-final in Europe's second-tier competition.
"I think that we wanted it more in the end because they had plenty of ball," he said. "We knew that they were a good team because we had scouted them a lot so we knew exactly what we were in for.
"We said at half-time that this one was going down to the wire and it certainly did. For us backing up from the match against Toulouse [in the Top 14], which was a huge disappointment for us, was really a great effort by the team.
"I reckon that Exeter are going to make the [Premiership] top four because I think that they believe in themselves. They look like they are very well coached, he's got them very well drilled."
While Stade Francais will continue their European adventure, Exeter will take heart from their showing in this competition as they turn their attention to securing a Premiership semi-final spot.
"I am disappointed but it was a very good performance and a strong desire to get after the game and do everything we could to win it, but we just came up a little bit short," Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter said.
"It was a big performance, the boys worked very hard and did a lot of really good things. Just one thing would have turned it but that is what happens in big games and I am certainly not going to worry that we lost today."
Baxter was frustrated that his side were denied a try in the first-half, when Jim Yuille, the Television Match Official (TMO), ruled out No.8 Richard Baxter's effort 10 minutes before the interval.
"Everybody this side of the stadium clearly saw that it was a try," Baxter said. "You have a touch judge this side looking at it who must have seen it as a try yet because they go to the TMO to double check and they haven't got the camera angles and we don't get a try.
"I am going to be very positive about the good things that we did and how we are going to drive those good things over and over again. We played well today and it is a mark of what we can do and really go for things."
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