sport news Rob Baxter can't wait to see which players sink or swim

Rob Baxter cannot wait to see how the Exeter Chiefs cope with being Premiership champions, saying he is fascinated to see which players sink or swim under pressure.

The Devonians won the league last summer just seven years after promotion from the Championship, beating Wasps in extra time at Twickenham.

And now they are ploughing new ground once more, thrust into the role as the hunted top dog.

Exeter Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter is looking forward to the start of the new season

Exeter Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter is looking forward to the start of the new season

'The thing I am most looking forward to is seeing which guys stand up and act, perform and show the qualities of a champion,' Chiefs director of rugby Baxter told Sportsmail.

'That is a really exciting thing for the players to face up to and it will be interesting for us coaches to see.

'I am sure some players and members of staff with thrive on it, and some will struggle for a bit, but one thing I am certain of is that at the end of it we will be a better team and a better club than we are now because of another great experience.

Chiefs won the Premiership last season when they beat Wasps in the final at Twickenham

Chiefs won the Premiership last season when they beat Wasps in the final at Twickenham

'It might take us a while, it might not. We might be like ducks to water, I don' t know. But we will be a better side for what we have to go through this year.'

The champions begin the Premiership season away to Gloucester on Friday night, providing the curtain raiser to another season. The goalposts may have changed for them, but this is not an unfamiliar feeling.

Exeter have been in uncharted territory going into almost every season since their promotion. Whether it was trying to stay in the league in 2010-11, playing in the European Cup for the first time in 2012-13, or tackling their first home playoff semi-final in 2015-16, they have risen to the challenge each time.

And Baxter will continue to aim high, knowing his squad thrives under scrutiny.

'Ultimately

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