Exeter Chiefs lose to Westcountry rivals for fifth successive time since promotion to top flight
Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter admitted he was "frustrated" after his side once again came up short against Westcountry rivals Bath.
Exeter have lost on all five occasions they have played Bath in the Aviva Premiership since winning promotion to the top flight in 2010, but they have never gone down by more than eight points.
Ignacio Mieres had a late, long-range penalty chance to earn the Chiefs a well-deserved losing bonus point, but he was off target, leaving Bath grateful 23-15 winners.
"I'm not disappointed with the result, so to speak, because you have to take results on the chin, but I am frustrated with elements of the performance," said Baxter.
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"In the first half, we didn't look like a side who wanted to get out there and take the game by the scruff of the neck.
"That was not down to a lack of physical effort on our part, but we slipped off tackles by going high, and we looked a bit indecisive in decision-making situations.
"We would shape to kick, and then decide to pass and then we stood still, instead of just going for one thing or another, and making things right by the effort and endeavour you put into each decision you make, and that was a little bit frustrating for me.
"The positives were that the second half was almost the reverse of that, and we really went for the game, and I think we were a little bit unfortunate not to come away with a win. We have come away with nothing, but it might have been another story if another pass had gone to hand, or one different decision had been made."
Exeter constantly pressed the Bath line in the closing stages, but could not find a way through for the match-winning try.
"Within those periods when we were tapping and going and keeping the pressure on, a few gilt-edged opportunities did open up for us, we didn't convert them for various reasons, and ultimately that cost us the game," he said.
Exeter paid for an indifferent start, conceding two tries inside the opening 14 minutes, but Baxter said it was hard to say whether the players were suffering from a bit of a hangover after their second-half drubbing by Clermont Auvergne the previous week.
"It is easy to say that there was, but our second-half performance says there shouldn't have been any hangover," said Baxter.
"It was there, we had it in our legs and hearts to get out there and run and play, so for me I think that is just a bit of an excuse.
"It seems to be an excuse that people are trotting out, about us going to be tired from our recent tough run of games, but, if you want to be a Heineken Cup side and a good Premiership side, you deal with it, get better and keep moving forward.
"I think massive elements of what we did on Saturday were really good, and we have just got to keep pushing."
He added: "Defensively, we were a little softer than I would have liked for periods, not so much our movement around the pitch and our effort, but our one-on-one hits were a little bit off.
"But as the game wore on everything improved – our defence, our set piece, everything.
"Those are just mental barriers the players have got to come through, and you only do that by experiencing things and getting on with it."