Exeter admit lessons have been learned

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter believes the Chiefs have "learned some pretty important lessons" following their Aviva Premiership points deduction and £5,000 fine.

Baxter and Exeter chief executive Tony Rowe attended yesterday's joint Rugby Football Union-Premier Rugby disciplinary hearing, when the club faced a charge of breaching Premiership competition regulations.

It related to Premiership games against London Irish and Leeds Carnegie this season, when Exeter included more than the two permitted foreign players in their match-day 23.

The Chiefs were docked two points and fined, although RFU disciplinary officer Judge Jeff Blackett said the panel accepted there was no intention by Exeter to gain an advantage and that it had been the result of an internal administrative error.

But, in a general observation, Blackett also said: "There is an increasing incidence of poor administration, and a deterrent sanction is required to prevent further incidents.

"Administrative errors such as these are a serious breach of regulations and potentially undermine the integrity of the competition."

Exeter conclude their debut Premiership campaign at home to Wasps on May 7, having secured top-flight status for a second successive season.

Baxter said: "We can put this behind us now, but we have learned some pretty important lessons from it regarding how tightly you have to manage certain scenarios.

"The players have worked hard this season and now they know that hard work has been worthwhile.

"I think it affected a few of the players more than we realised. It's been a tough season for them, and when something out of your control could affect your season, it's difficult to take.

"We had a bit of a blip for two or three weeks, but the guys responded well at Sale and reset a few things in our game last week.

"Now we can look forward to the Wasps game. We want to finish our season on a high with a big performance."

Exeter chief executive Rowe added: "Both Rob and I are pleased that the matter has now been brought to a close. We are thankful to the panel for the understanding way they have dealt with our case.

"As we have said previously in statements, in no way did the club look to gain any kind of unfair advantage over any of our rivals.

"It was purely a clerical error which we have had to hold our hands up to."

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