Exeter Chiefs 38-11 London Irish: Nowell inspires emphatic Chiefs win
Jack Nowell touched down two tries for Exeter as they claimed a first Aviva Premiership win of the season against London Irish
Gareth Steenson, Don Armand, Luke Cowan-Dickie and James Short also crossed for Chiefs
Exiles’ Blair Cowan crossed for a consolation try late on
Exeter Chiefs ran in six tries to secure their first win of the season in fine style, overcoming London Irish at Sandy Park on Saturday.
Gareth Steenson darted over for the opening score before Chris Noakes hit a penalty and both Don Armand and Luke Cowan-Dickie then went over as the home side held a commanding 19-3 interval lead.
Two second-half tries from Jack Nowell alongside an effort from James Short sealed a fine bonus-point win for Exeter, with Exiles’ Blair Cowan crossing for a consolation.
The warning signs were there from an early stage as Chiefs enjoyed a dominant start, collecting territory with ease as they romped to their first win of the season on the back of a stellar pack effort.
It was fly-half Steenson who would open the scoring, though, the 31-year-old racing home from 15 metres after a fine break by Armand.
He was unable to add the extras and Irish closed to within two points shortly after, Noakes hitting a penalty for 5-3 after a rare venture into Exeter’s half, but the home side soon stretched their advantage.
The impressive Armand proved to be the beneficiary of more good pack work, touching down on the 20-minute mark after the hosts’ forward pack had forced him into position and Cowan-Dickie put Rob Baxter’s men further ahead with a strikingly similar score just minutes later.
And the home side’s momentum didn’t let up in the second period as they flew out of the blocks after the break, former Exiles man Short touching down in the first minute of the second half after a searing attack by Exeter’s backs.
But Nowell stole the second half show, scoring arguably the try of the game as he latched on to a chip kick just five metres out from his own line before beating off the attentions of a number of defenders and scorching his way over the line in a stunning 95-metre dash.
Scotland forward Cowan grabbed a consolation for the Exiles with 15 minutes left, but Nowell quickly doused any flames of an unlikely comeback as he latched on to a poor Irish kick to run in unopposed and cap of an impressive afternoon for the Chiefs, leaving the home fans to celebrate their first win of the new season, while the visitors were left to rue another tough afternoon with Tom Coventry’s men sitting bottom of the Premiership table as one of two sides who are yet to collect a point this year.
Man of the Match
Exeter Chiefs:Jack Nowell
With an honourable mention to Don Armand, who enjoyed a fine first half, this was Nowell’s afternoon. The 22-year-old academy product strengthened his claims for an international recall, finishing the day with two exceptional individual tries. The winger was full of hard work in the first half and cut loose in the second, blowing the game open with his double to seal a dominant bonus-point win for his side.