Exeter Chiefs youngster Jack Maunder admitted to have mixed feelings in the aftermath of his side’s latest European Champions Cup defeat at the hands of Bordeaux Begles.
Scrum-half Maunder claimed his first-ever try in Exeter colours during the first half at Sandy Park, but it proved not enough as the French side hit back in the second period to record a 13-7 victory over Rob Baxter’s side.
The defeat – Exeter’s third in the competition this season – means they remain rooted to the foot of Pool 5 with their European aspirations all but over for another season, despite having three games still to play in the competition.
“We’re disappointed,” admitted the 19-year-old after the match. “It’s always more disappointing when the effort is there and you put everything into it, like we did tonight. Right now the boys will be down and we did a lot of what Rob asked us to do, but we just lacked that clinical edge and made the odd wrong decision.”
Although the Chiefs bossed territory and possession for much of Sunday’s encounter, they could not build on Maunder’s score just after the half-hour mark.
“Bordeaux showed a lot of heart and they just kept going,” added Maunder, the son of former Exeter legend Andy Maunder. “At one stage we thought we had them on the ropes, but they just kept coming back and they won some key turnovers, which really hurt us. You have to say ‘fair play’ to them because they stuck in there when it was really tough.”
Maunder was one of a number of changes Baxter made to his starting line-up following three successive Premiership victories, but again the fledgling half-back again impressed, producing a solid showing alongside the experienced Gareth Steenson.
“It’s good to test yourself and see where you are against one of the best nines in France,” said Maunder of his on-field battle with Bordeaux counterpart Baptiste Serin. “You learn all the time from experiences like this and Steeno was talking to me all the time, which was great.
“I know there are areas of my game that I need to improve on and for me it’s all part of the learning process, but it was great to be out there again and part of the Chiefs side.”
Again Maunder showed he has the ability to cope with Europe’s elite, demonstrating his eye for the try-line by finishing off some excellent approach work from team-mate Ollie Devoto.
“Obviously it was a very special moment for me,” he added. “I had a lot of friends and family here watching, so to score at home was pretty special. I think I was smiling all the way down, which is pretty cheesy, but it was nice to get over and score.”
Now Maunder will be hoping to be part of the Chiefs squad that will head to France later this week for a re-run of Sunday’s encounter against the Frenchmen at the Stade Chaban Delmas on Saturday (2pm).
After which the Devon club will be back into a testing Premiership block against Leicester Tigers (home), Bath (away) and Saracens (away).
Maunder said: “It’s all about momentum and we need to build again this week. We went well in the last Premiership block, so will take confidence from that, and also from parts of this game, but we know we have to train hard this week and look to improve.
“We all know that it’s important to get some momentum behind us and look to have a real go against Leicester on Christmas Eve. The positives are there for us, we know that, and so is the effort and desire to play, but we just need to put it all together and produce that big performance.”