Dai Young was a happy man after Danny Cipriani made a successful Aviva Premiership Rugby return to Wasps, guiding them to a 25-20 win over Exeter Chiefs at the Ricoh Arena.
Chiefs and Wasps played out another thriller in Coventry and after losing three of four clashes last year, scores from Jimmy Gopperth, Dan Robson and Tommy Taylor clinched victory for Young’s side.
Cipriani’s blind-side attack and slick hands were crucial in creating a pivotal try for Dan Robson early in the second half, as Wasps wrestled momentum back from the West Country men – who had led 17-8 at the break.
And Welshman Young was satisfied with Cipriani’s performance on his return to his boyhood club.
“Danny has fitted in well, we have always known that he has X-factor, the challenge has always been with Danny to do the bread and butter stuff, not to get to excited and try to do everything on his own,” he said.
“In the first half he was frustrated because we weren’t working hard enough and he was forced into kicking the ball.
“I am pretty pleased really; he and Jimmy Gopperth worked well together, I thought that would give us another dimension.
“We challenged the players at half-time to work harder and get into shape quicker, get us over the gain-line, give us some front-foot ball and we knew the opportunities would arise.
“We are pretty good off turnover ball, Christian Wade on the wing is pretty good, Dan is always on his shoulder and that is probably a carbon copy of three or four he scored last season.”
Baxter, who guided his side to a maiden Aviva Premiership Rugby final against Saracens last year, urged his side to a kick on from earning a losing bonus point against an outfit packed with quality.
But with Saracens up next at Sandy Park, he knows they must bounce back quickly against the defending European and Aviva Premiership champions.
“The bigger picture is that we have got a losing bonus point against a top-four team from last year away from home – that is par, it’s OK,” Baxter said.
“There was a period fairly early in the second half where Wasps just wrestled the momentum away from us.
“It was good play from Wasps and they showed a desire to keep coming at us and for us probably a lack of patience when we had the ball.
“There was a chance if we had been more clinical for us to get above par and win here today.
“We have to use this as a foundation, we were in a similar position last year, we played pretty well at Bath and lost, but we used that as a good foundation.”
Wasps: Rob Miller; Christian Wade, Elliot Daly, Jimmy Gopperth, Josh Bassett (Frank Halai 71); Danny Cipriani, Dan Robson (Joe Simpson 62); Matt Mullan (Simon McIntyre 51), Tommy Taylor, Phil Swainston (Marty Moore 60), Joe Launchbury, James Gaskell (Matt Symons 51), Sam Jones (Alex Rieder 74), Guy Thompson, Nathan Hughes (Ashley Johnson 60)
Unused Replacments: Brendan Macken
Exeter Chiefs: Phil Dollman; Olly Woodburn, Ollie Devoto, Sam Hill (Gareth Steenson 73), Ian Whitten (James Short 10); Henry Slade, Will Chudley (Dave Lewis 56); Ben Moon (Alec Hepburn 54), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Jack Yeandle 54), Harry Williams (Greg Holmes 50), Mitch Lees (Geoff Parling 46), Damian Welch, Don Armand, Julian Salvi, Thomas Waldrom (Dave Dennis 63)
Tries Gopperth, Robson, Taylor
Conversions Gopperth 2
Penalties: Gopperth 2
Tries: Waldrom, Chudley,
Conversions: Slade 2
Penalties: Slade 2
Referee: Thomas Foley