Joe Schmidt looks for crumbs to comfort losers Leinster

Exeter 20 Leinster 29

Sandy Park

While Exeter's head coach Rob Baxter was talking of a new frontier for the Chiefs at their soon to be expanded stadium, his Leinster counterpart Joe Schmidt was caught between a pale face at exiting the Heineken Cup and putting a brave face on the remainder of the season. "We've never won the Amlin Challenge Cup and the final is in Dublin at the RDS so there's things to play for," said Schmidt after Saturday's four-try win at Sandy Park, with the prediction that results would relegate the reigning Heineken champions to the second-tier event. "There is also the Pro 12: we have lost three finals in a row and this might give us clear air to have a crack at that."

Sure enough Munster – of all people and with the advantage of knowing what they need to do in advance – trounced a weakened Racing Metro in Limerick yesterday, leaving Leinster as runners-up in Pool Five, unable to progress as a lucky loser. Injuries and a tough pool that was won by Clermont Auvergne have done for the team who were champions in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

"One of the fall-downs for us has been the structure, where you have two semi-finalists [from last season] in the same pool," said Schmidt, though he did not advocate any change in the set-up. "I'm pretty pragmatic over what I can and can't control." One troubling matter is the contract of fly-half Jonathan Sexton, who has received big-money offers from French clubs. "Jonny will be in demand as he is a super player and a super kid," Schmidt said of the 27-year-old who is expected to feature for the Lions this summer.

"The Irish RFU are doing their darnedest to wind that up but I know the realities. I hope one way or another – one way to be honest – it is sorted out by the end of the week. I don't think he needs it heading into the Six Nations."

Three of Leinster's existing Lions luminaires – Brian O'Driscoll, Luke Fitzgerald and Rob Kearney – have only recently returned from injury and they encountered an Exeter team playing hard for their supporters despite knowing that Europe in both its forms was over for them before kick-off.

Leinster are the fifth holders to be knocked out in the following season's pool stage, joining Ulster (1999-2000), Northampton (2000-01) and Wasps (2004-05 and 2007-08).

The Chiefs were excellent in the battle after the tackle, even though they lost their England flanker Tom Johnson to a leg injury in the first half, and they forced two tries from line-outs. "They've got a tight five that works incredibly hard," said Schmidt, "and allows their defensive line to spread the width of the field."

Baxter was bullish about Exeter's future. "We're a little way off Leinster and Clermont but it never works like that," said Baxter. "When you play against these teams you can't sit there and go, 'Oh, we're nearly there'. You get out there and give it everything you've got, and the experience makes your players better. What we encourage our guys to do is live it and experience it, not be scared of it and run away from it. The bigger picture is stage by stage to make bigger crowds want to come and watch it because they like the big teams coming here. That develops revenue, which develops playing budgets and other good players watching your team play well makes recruitment easier."

The summer should see development of Sandy Park on the west and south sides to increase capacity towards 20,000. The club also bought additional Aviva Premiership shares from Leeds Carnegie last year to raise their central funding.

"How long will it take? It's how long is a piece of string," said Baxter. "A lot of things need to happen and it all becomes a cycle you have to work through over a long period of time. Clermont are an example. They have been at it a long time without winning the Heineken Cup, but they might get there this year.

"We've been quite good at the way we've built the club. For me, the way we play and want people to see us play, is part of the bigger picture. I don't want people coming here thinking they're going to watch Exeter try to avoid relegation, kick the ball and chase it because we're scared of losing.

"You've got to move beyond that if you ever want to get towards the top. We're in a transition period where we're desperate to be ambitious. Sooner or later we need to knock over a Leinster or a Clermont."

Exeter: Tries Clark, penalty try; Conversions Steenson 2; Penalties Steenson 2.

Leinster: Tries D'Arcy, Kearney, O'Driscoll, Heaslip; Conversions Sexton 3.

Exeter L Arscott; I Whitten, S Naqelevuki, J Shoemark (N Sestaret, 78), M Jess; G Steenson, K Barrett (W Chudley, 53); B Moon (C Rimmer, 53), N Clark (J Yeandle, 78), H Tui (C Mitchell, 62), T Hayes (capt, J Hanks, 54), D Mumm, T Johnson (B White, 14), J Scaysbrook, R Baxter.

Leinster R Kearney; I Nacewa, B O'Driscoll (I Madigan, 78), G D'Arcy, L Fitzgerald; J Sexton, E Reddan (I Boss, 54); C Healy (H van der Merwe, 66), R Strauss (S Cronin, 40), M Ross (M Bent, 66), L Cullen (capt), D Toner, K McLaughlin (R Ruddock, 60), S O'Brien, J Heaslip.

Referee R Poite (France).

Suggested Topics
News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past