Jack Yeandle proud of Exeter Chiefs improvement in wake of Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final defeat
Another Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final defeat hurts but Exeter Chiefs proved they are heading in the right direction, according to skipper Jack Yeandle.
Twelve months ago, Chiefs were outclassed 27-10 by Saracens in the showpiece but this year they more than held their own in an instant classic.
Nic White put them ahead with the fastest try in Premiership Rugby Final history, after just 27 seconds, and Rob Baxter’s men led by 11 points at one stage in the second half.
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But Saracens produced a comeback for the ages as Liam Williams, Sean Maitland and Jamie George all crossed to seal a 37-34 victory and break Exeter hearts.
Yet, having finished top of the regular-season Gallagher Premiership Rugby table and outplayed the European and domestic double winners for large stretches at Twickenham, hooker Yeandle believes there are plenty of positives for Chiefs to take.
Painstakingly close for @ExeterChiefs 😔
A try that summarises their endeavour and quality 💎
Next year Chiefs will ____ 🧐 pic.twitter.com/sK2REyAoF6
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) June 2, 2019
“Bar the chaotic first five minutes of the game, we felt kind of in charge in a lot of areas,” he explained.
“Particularly when we started to play a bit and really went for it towards the end of the first half, we were causing them some problems.
“We spoke before the game about our five-metre attack and being a bit bloody-minded when we got there. It was successful, we got a lot of joy out of it and we also spoke about the belief.
“We felt a lot more in charge in this game, so it felt different to last year. Last year, we were always chasing whereas this time, we were a lot more assertive.
“Our defence was pretty good as well and we were much more dominant for large periods of that game.
“We have stayed at our task and stuck with what we have done. I am proud of the boys as we have had a good season but we fell at the last hurdle.”
The likes of Yeandle, centre Henry Slade, full-back Jack Nowell and flanker Dave Ewers particularly impressed for Exeter, who rose to the magnitude of the occasion at Rugby HQ.
But the resilience demonstrated by Saracens to come back from the brink was a sight to behold, and Yeandle was quick to pay tribute to the opposition.
“The try we got in the second half extended our lead to 11 points and it just got a bit too grey as to what we were doing after that,” admitted Yeandle.
“You have to give full credit to Saracens for making it difficult for us, putting us under pressure and squeezing us into making a few little mistakes that grew and grew.
“We have to give Saracens credit for how they came back at us but it definitely hurts.”