Exeter Chiefs edged to a narrow 26-25 victory against harlequins in the Aviva Premiership at Sandy Park on Saturday
Fly-half Gareth Steenson was the man of the match for Exeter Chiefs with a 21-point haul
Despite the defeat, Quins come away with two bonus points after losing out narrowly and scoring four tries
Exeter Chiefs came from behind against Harlequins to ensure they continued their impressive start to the Aviva Premiership with a fourth consecutive win. Gareth Steenson starred for the hosts with a 21-point haul, made up of four penalties, two conversions and a try as the fly-half seemingly tried to win the game all on his own.
Quins had run-in three tries before half-time but some sublime kicking from Steenson paired with James Short’s try ensured the hosts led narrowly by a single point at the break.
The Exeter number 10 then touched down a try before converting to recapture the hosts the lead following a Nick Evans penalty for Quins prior.
Tim Visser then brought the visitors back within touching distance with Quins fourth try, which secured the bonus-point, but the brave hosts would hold on for the narrow victory.
Exeter raced into a three-point lead in the opening 60 seconds as Gareth Steenson struck the hosts into the lead following a knock on from Quins.
After a series of dominant scrums deep into Chiefs territory, the visitors though were eventually awarded a penalty try to take the lead with Nick Evans edging Quins further in front with the resulting conversion, 3-7.
Another Steenson penalty brought Rob Baxter’s men within touching distance, but not for long as Evans breached the Chiefs line to get on the end of a Danny Care’s pin-point grubber to force the ball down for Quins second score. The fly-half though wasn’t able to add the extras.
Steenson again though stepped up to narrow the gap with yet another three-pointer. However, Quins were in for their third try when Walker went over in the right hand corner following eight or nine phases of play. The Exeter fly-half though was on hand again though soon after to ensure Quins couldn’t build a comfortable lead, 12-17.
It looked as though Harlequins would head for the sheds with a half-time lead but as they tried to run down the clock, Exeter pounced with James Short touch down. Steenson then nailed the conversion to give the hosts a two-point lead at half-time.
Evans struck the ball through the upright from a penalty to recapture the lead for the away side but Exeter’s second try, scored and converted by Steenson, edged the hosts back in front, 26-20.
The visitors were handed a lifeline when Elvis Taione was sent to the sin bin.
Quins though fought back – and secured a try bonus point when Mike Brown’s kick to the corner was touched down by Tim Visser with 18 minutes to go and there was one point in it after Tim Swiel missed the conversion.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Exeter Chiefs: Gareth Steenson
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Don Armand, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Moray Low, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Tom Johnson, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Sam Hill, 23 Olly Woodburn.
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 George Lowe, 12 Harry Sloan, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care (c), 8 Nick Easter, 7 Dave Ward, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Sam Twomey, 4 James Horwill, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Kieran Treadwell, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Matt Hopper.
Date: Saturday 28 November
Venue: Sandy Park
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Ros Campbell & Roger Baileff
TMO: Keith Lewis