Exeter resists Gloucester fightback to win 19-10 in the Aviva Premiership at Sandy Park
Thomas Waldrom’s brace plus Ollie Woodburn’s score gave Exeter a 19-0 advantage at the break
A try from Charlie Sharples added to five points from the tee saw a Gloucester threaten after the restart
Exeter strengthened their pursuit of Aviva Premiership league leaders Saracens with a comfortable 19-10 victory at Sandy Park, which leaves Gloucester cemented in mid-table.
The Chiefs’ 8-3 loss at Northampton in Premiership Rugby on New Year’s Day was the first time they had failed to score a try in a match since November 2014, but they made up for that by touching down two tries in the opening ten minutes via England hopeful Thomas Waldrom.
Ollie Woodburn touched down Exeter’s third score with Steenson knocking over two of the three conversions to give the hosts a 19-0 wind-assisted lead at the break.
Greig Laidlaw got Gloucester on the board with a penalty after the restart before Charlie Sharples raced in for his second try of the season, as the visitors looked to make up the 19 point deficit.
Billy Burns conversion had cut the gap to nine points before a frantic final ten minutes saw both sides in the quest for a bonus point.
Exeter went within inches of scoring several times, with the game ending as the TMO ruled that they weren’t able to reach the line.
The Chiefs got off to the best possible start as back-rower Waldrom dribbled before collecting Julian Salvi’s charge down for his fifth try of the season after six minutes. Steenson then chipped over the conversion to give the hosts an early seven-point lead.
Try number two of the afternoon for Chiefs and Waldrom came four minutes later as the robust number eight peeled off the back of a lineout drive to bulldoze over. Steenson, this time, was unable to add the extras, 12-0.
Disastrous defending from Gloucester then gifted Woodburn Exeter’s third try as Henry Purdy failed to gather Steenson’s knock through. The fly-half then stepped up to extend the host advantage to 19 points with 24 minutes gone.
Laidlaw got the Cherry and Whites on the board soon after the restart with a well-struck penalty before Sharples glided past James Short to score in the corner after 68 minutes.
Billy Burns was on target with the conversion to put Gloucester all of a sudden within nine points, 19-10.
The hosts lost wing Jack Nowell to a knee injury midway through the second half, and that could have implications for England’s Six Nations squad, which is announced next week.
Exeter had a late effort ruled out by the TV official as they failed to score the fourth try that would have secured the extra point.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Exeter Chiefs: Geoff Parling
Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Jack Nowell, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Don Armand, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Ollie Atkins, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Moray Low, 19 Jonny Hill, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Will Hooley, 23 Michele Campagnaro
Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Bill Meakes, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 James Hook, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Nicky Thomas, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Nick Wood
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Paddy McAllister, 19 Mariano Galarza, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Mark Atkinson
Date: Saturday, January 9
Venue: Sandy Park
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Peter Huckle, Ross Campbell
TMO: Stuart Terheege