Exeter defeats Leicester for the first time since 2012
Chiefs fly-half Gareth Steenson scored all of the hosts points, made up of a try, conversion and four penalties
The Tigers unbeaten start to the Aviva Premiership is now over with Saracens now being the only undefeated side left in the division
Exeter has now won three back-to-back games following an opening day defeat to Bath
BY ASH COOPER
Exeter Chiefs move up to second place in the Aviva Premiership following a comfortable victory over Leicester Tigers at Sandy Park in Saturday’s evening kick-off.
Chiefs Captain Gareth Steenson put in a man of the match display, with the fly-half scoring all 19 of the hosts points as they belatedly ended a six-match losing streak against the Tigers.
Exeter began the game brightly and won a penalty deep in the Tigers half after just three minutes. Despite the kick being right in front of the posts, the Chiefs opted to take the risk of kicking to the corner. The gamble paid off, as Steenson was able to muscle past Vereniki Goneva from five metres to touch down before kicking the resulting conversion to give Exeter a seven-point lead after just five minutes.
Leicester, who had started the game slowly, took the best part of 20 minutes to break into the Chiefs 22. The hosts though defended solidly and were able to soak up a lot of pressure before forcing a knock on from the Tigers attack.
The visitors thought they had eventually got themselves back into the game after the half an hour when winger Adam Thompstone made a fantastic break before touching down in the corner. The try, however, was disallowed by the TMO, after Thompstone had grounded the ball onto James Short’s leg before subsequently losing the ball forward.
The away side’s frustrations continued as Steenson extended the Chiefs lead to 10 points, kicking a penalty from just outside the 22.
The Tigers replied instantly after winning a penalty from the restart with fly-half Owen Williams reducing the deficit back to seven from in front of the posts.
The hosts though regained their 10-point advantage with the last kick of the half as Steenson coolly slotted his third penalty straight between the posts, 13-3.
The Tigers came out for the second half playing at a much higher tempo, but couldn’t find a way through the compact Chiefs defence. Leicester failed to make their pressure pay and missed an excellent chance to close the gap, knocking on from a line out on Exeter’s five-metre line.
The Chief’s hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie was penalised for tackling with no arms just after the hour, which allowed Williams to kick his second penalty. This brought Leicester back to within seven points and within reach of a losing bonus point, 13-6.
In the opening rounds of the season, Exeter had been heavily criticised for their poor scrummaging. This was not the case today as Steenson able to extend the Chiefs advantage through a fourth penalty, which was awarded after after the Chiefs put pressure on the visitors at the scrum, 16-6.
Jack Nowell looked to have guaranteed the win for the home side, with a walk in try after a fantastic high pass from Steenson. Nevertheless, the TMO spotted something in back play and the try was reversed to a penalty with Tigers replacement prop Riccardo Brugnara being sent to the sin bin for kicking out at Jack Yeandle.
Steenson kicked the resulting penalty to take his points tally for the night to 19 and move his side up to second in the Premiership table.
Exeter head coach Rob Baxter would have bene delighted with his side’s work rate tonight as they defended brilliantly showing sharp line speed and discipline throughout the game.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Exeter Chiefs: Gareth Steenson
Steenson was simply incredible today. His ability with with ball in hand as well as his impeccable kicking from the tee played a crucial role in the win. The Chiefs captain, in fact, scored all of Exeter’s points with a try, a conversion and four penalty goals. He also showed exceptional strength to finish his try, powering through two Leicester defenders on his way to the line.
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson (c), 9 Will Chudley, 8 Don Armand, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Moray Low, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Sam Hill, 23 Matt Jess
Leicester Tigers: 15 Telusa Veainu , 14 Adam Thompstone , 13 Matt Smith, 12 Seremaia Bai , 11 Vereniki Goneva , 10 Owen Williams , 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Lachlan McCaffrey, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (c), 1 Fraser Balmain
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Riccardo Brugnara, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Mike Fitzgerald, 20 Laurence Pearce, 21 Jono Kitto, 22 Peter Betham, 23 Mathew Tait
Date: Saturday, November 7
Venue: Sandy Park
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Ross Campbell
TMO: Geoff Warren