We deserved win - Baxter
Exeter head coach Rob Baxter felt his team were good value for Sunday afternoon's 14-12 victory over Saracens.
Last Updated: 23/09/12 8:20pm
Exeter head coach Rob Baxter felt his team were good value for this afternoon's 14-12 victory over Saracens which lifted the Chiefs to fifth place in the Aviva Premiership table.
Sireli Naqelevuki scored the game's only try after 54 minutes at Sandy Park, with the rest of the hosts' points coming from three first-half Ignacio Mieres penalties.
Sarries, whose points all came from the boot of fly-half Owen Farrell, applied pressure right to the final whistle and looked like snatching the game as they tried to set up replacement fly-half Charlie Hodgson for a drop-goal attempt.
It was not to be, though, and they slipped to a first defeat of the season.
Baxter acknowledged the game was there for the taking, but claimed his side were worthy winners.
"It was one of those scenarios - the clock is running down, and with a team like Saracens inside your own 22 you think this could go either way," he said.
"We'd managed to stop them a few times with some good sets of defence but, to be fair, it was difficult to play a lot of phases of play in the conditions.
"I was there thinking, 'come on boys, don't give up the penalty - make them have to play several phases'. And that's what we did and the error came.
"So I think that we deserved it [the win] and I would have been disappointed if we had lost it by a point or two at the end.
"I am a big believer that you get what you deserve out of rugby and today we probably deserved it and I'd like to think the win shows that."
Exeter had a slender 9-6 lead at the interval after Argentina fly-half Mieres landed three of his five penalties with opposite number Farrell replying with two.
The advantage was short-lived as Farrell added two more second-half penalties but the game's only try - wing Matt Jess providing the scoring pass for inside centre Naqelevuki - proved decisive.
That try came while Saracens were down to 14 men after Chris Ashton had become the second player to be yellow-carded for charging into a ruck and shoulder-barging Chiefs flanker James Phillips.
Sarries skipper Kelly Brown had spent 10 minutes in the sin-bin in the first half and Chiefs hooker Chris Whitehead was the third player to be carded during the game by referee Sean Davey as he saw yellow on the hour.
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall, whose side climbed to third spot despite the defeat thanks to their losing bonus point, did not have a great view of the Ashton offence but acknowledged it had been at a key time.
McCall said: "The fact that they scored a try during that sin-bin may have been our downfall. It was a difficult game in the conditions but their fundamentals were much better than ours.
"You can't afford to come to a place like Sandy Park and lose two men to the sin-bin. On top of that we gave away a number of other penalties which had consequences in the match - something that we had prided ourselves on wasn't as good today."