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Horstmann reflects on special Anglo-Welsh Cup win

Horstmann reflects on special Anglo-Welsh Cup win

Kai Horstmann admits he will miss playing  when he hangs up his boots at the end of the season after guiding Exeter Chiefs to Anglo-Welsh Cup glory.

The 36-year-old was named captain as the reigning Premiership champions defeated West Country rivals Bath Rugby 28-11 in the final at Kingsholm.

A new role in the club’s commercial department awaits the back-rower when the season finishes and as he has yet to feature in the league, the triumph will more than likely be his final senior appearance.

Horstmann said winning the final ranks “right up there” in his career highlights and while he is looking forward to a new chapter, he knows the transition will not be easy.

“It’s a huge privilege to be able to stay involved with the club and to be given the opportunity and I’m certainly excited, but I’ll miss the playing side dreadfully,” he said.

“I’ll miss these moments, I’ll miss matchday and being able to do that out there, but it had to happen at some time and I’m excited by the future.”

Having delivered a man-of-the-match performance the last time Chiefs lifted the trophy in 2014, Horstmann said these are the moments that make all the hard work worth it.

“Pre-season when you are getting absolutely flogged, and you have done it for a long time like I have, it’s pretty horrific but it completely makes up for it moments like this,” he said.

“I don’t know how many times people get the opportunity to play in finals throughout their career, but I suspect, for the majority, probably you can count them on one hand.

“So when you get an opportunity to win it and bang it in like we did, it is really special.”

Exeter raced out of the blocks against Bath and established a 13-0 lead after the first 15 minutes, with Jack Innard getting the first of his two tries.

Horstmann then played a telling role in Chiefs’ all-important third try as he charged down a Freddie Burns kick, which resulted in Innard touching down for his second try.

Bath look bewildered by the speed and intensity of Exeter early on and Horstmann said the tactic was central to his side’s preparation for the game.

“We talked a lot about fast starts and you can’t let the moment take over, the fact that you’re in a cup final,” he said.

“You need to make sure your individual actions are taken care of and everyone did that, everyone was absolutely on point and communication was right up there.”

With Exeter flying high at the top of the Premiership once again, there is a real chance that Rob Baxter’s side will end the season with the domestic double.

And Horstmann was quick to pay testament to the strength in depth Chiefs possess, after including only one player – Joe Simmonds – who started against Bath in the league win a week earlier in the starting XV for the final.

“We are blessed with youngsters coming through who very much buy into what we are doing,” he said. “We know how we target the season and every bit of silverware is precious for us and we do that as a squad.

“We train as a squad. The non-matchday squad will put in a hell of a shift to make sure that the 23 are prepared well going into Premiership games and it’s exactly the same when we are in an Anglo-Welsh week.”

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