‘These are amazing days and it is a shame’: Exeter’s director of rugby Rob Baxter regretful big day against Toulouse will be a quiet affair after reaching Champions Cup semi-final for first time
- Exeter’s Champions Cup semi-final against Toulouse will be behind closed doors
- The Chiefs have reached the semi-final of the competition for the first time
- Director of rugby Rob Baxter said it was a shame there would be no fans
Exeter are gearing up for a landmark moment with more than a tinge of regret that they can’t greet French giants Toulouse with a dose of Devon bedlam at Sandy Park on Saturday.
The Chiefs have reached the semi-final of the European Champions Cup for the first time. It should be a vibrant occasion but the benefits of home advantage will be significantly diminished due to the empty stands.
Jack Nowell, Exeter’s England wing, expressed frustration on Wednesday on Twitter, saying: ‘How about this? Open sports stadiums to whoever wants to go and watch, if you don’t, stay at home. #justathought’.
Exeter’s semi-final against French giants Toulouse will be played behind closed doors
His director of rugby, Rob Baxter, added: ‘It’s obviously disappointing. You always imagine quarter-finals and semi-finals of Europe being these huge occasions based on the build-up, flame-throwers around the pitch, music going on, the crowd going mad!
‘They are amazing days and it is a shame, but it is still a great opportunity for the players in difficult circumstances and I think we are dealing with it very well.’
Baxter delivered a stark Covid warning: ‘It doesn’t take a genius to have concerns.
‘I am a director, so I see the financial predictions and budgets. A lot of sports clubs are going to disappear. You can’t run businesses on zero finance.’
Director of Rugby Rob Baxter said it was a shame but still a great opportunity for his side
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