Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter impressed as new-look side starts well in cup

Exeter boss Rob Baxter says his side's 75-0 thrashing of Bristol showed his new-look squad is coming together well.

A strong Exeter line-up ran in 11 tries in their first competitive game of the season after a summer which saw the club lose a host of star names.

It was the biggest victory in the first round of the Premiership Rugby Cup.

"I'm not going to be so naïve as to not know there's a huge difference in the relative strength of the teams," Baxter told BBC Radio Devon.

"Bristol clearly put their stronger available side out on Thursday, we clearly put a very strong team today because we wanted to play well at home and we wanted to get 80 minutes into some key players.

"We've been very open to say this whole series of Premiership Cup games is about building our team together and giving them some cohesion and understanding of how they play together and the things they do.

"I thought that was the biggest challenge I could ask them and they did that really well."

Exeter gave full debuts to Joe Hawkins, Ben Hammersley, Ehren Painter and Matt Postlethwaite while a number of front line players such as Henry Slade, Scott Sio, Harvey Skinner and Jacques Vermeulen all started.

It came after a summer where big names including Stuart Hogg, Jack Nowell, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Simmonds, Dave Ewers and Joe Simmonds all left Sandy Park.

"This was full on contact out there, despite the strengths of the teams," Baxter added.

"We've got to practise some things under genuine match pressure and some of them have come off and some of then haven't, some of them will need to change, some of them will need to adapt.

"But on the whole we look like a team that are willing to attack and go for it and try and score tries and that's what we're driving.

"Not every offload's going to come off under Premiership pressure and not every cross-field kick is going to come off under Premiership pressure.

"But actually for us last season we'd have only needed two of those things to have come off and we'd have been a top four side, so I think we're heading in the right direction."