Simmonds impresses Baxter

06 March 2018 06:29:43 EST

Exeter Chiefs' director of rugby Rob Baxter believes that it is unwise to bring in young players just for the sake of it.

The West Countrymen's boss was commenting after Joe Simmonds' exceptional performance against Saracens on Sunday. Simmonds, the brother of England international Sam, was outstanding having been selected ahead of stalwart Gareth Steenson in the fly-half shirt.

Exeter have a track record of bringing through quality young players and Baxter insists that there is a way of going about it which allows them to thrive.

"The important thing when you bring young players in is you bring them in on form, you don't ever want your decision to be forced by injury if you can avoid it," he said.

"With Joe he's looked increasingly comfortable. He's looked increasingly like driving things in sessions. He's been the shadow quarter-back so to speak for numerous important and pressure games for us.

"He's driven the opposition side of things against us remarkably well in training. He's played very well in A League games and has done very well in the Anglo-Welsh this season.

"We've brought him in on form and I think that's how you have to do it. If he hadn't have been showing form, we wouldn't have made the change. He's earned that change and that's how it has to be. That gives him his best opportunity.

"That's what we like to think we do with our young players - we ask them to merit selection - both the way they train and deal with not being picked, and that's what he's done. It's down to Joe, it's not down to me."

Exeter are 6/4 to win the Aviva Premiership Grand Final this season, while Saracens can be backed at 8/15 and Wasps at 7/1.

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