- Exeter shock Saracens at Vicarage Road to earn first away win of the season
- Sarries head coach Brendan Venter heaps praise on the Chiefs
Photo: Getty Images
Saracens head coach Brendan Venter chose to heap praise on opponent Exeter rather than criticise his own players following Saturday's defeat at Vicarage Road.
The Aviva Premiership newcomers pulled off a major scalp with a 23-9 triumph in Watford, their first away victory in the top flight.
Sarries boss Venter was full of praise for the Chiefs, saying: "From my point of view it's amazing what you can achieve with a collective will. They came here with a team of unknowns, got stuck into us and deserved to win.
"When you analyse the game we have created an unbelievable number of chances and had a few little things gone right I think we would have gone on to win.
"Their defence was excellent but the bottom line is they played as a team and today we played as individuals. Yet when I watch the video I think I'll find we were not as bad as I thought.
"Of course I'm disappointed but what do I do? Kick a chair, shout, or throw water? No, you have to give credit where it is due."
Venter was asked whether Gavin Henson might be available sooner rather than later.
"Gavin will become available when he finishes on Strictly Come Dancing and when that happens he will face three to four weeks of tough training.
"It's a long time since he played first class rugby, or any rugby, and we must bear that in mind."
To add to Saracens' woes, they lost centre Brad Barritt, who suffered a compound fracture of a finger and will be out for up to six weeks.
It was a great day for Exeter and their followers and for 24-year-old fly-half Ryan Davis, who celebrated his first Premiership start for Exeter with 18 points from a try, two conversions and three penalties.
Photo: Getty Images
Exeter head coach Rob Baxter said: "We felt we needed to make a breakthrough versus a major team.
"We'd done well away from home but repeatedly come up short, so to see the job through is special.
"We're a confident bunch with self-belief. But you also have to work for what you achieve at this level and we had three separate periods when we had to defend for our lives. I was proud of the way the lads retained their focus.
"We have showed that when you want something badly enough and are prepared to work for it you can succeed.
"I've been asked on radio if I would have settled for a losing bonus point before kick-off. Hand on heart the answer is no.
"You can't go out looking for losing bonus points before the kick-off because then you start playing like that and you never progress.
"Ryan joined us from Bath and while Gareth Steenson was first choice fly-half he worked hard and waited patiently.
He's a sparkly individual and a fine goalkicker and I think he did a tremendous job against very fine opposition."