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- Team Icon
- Team Name
- Worcester Warriors
- Team Score
- Team Icon
- Team Name
- Exeter Chiefs
- Team Score
Worcester Warriors 32
Exeter Chiefs 48
Mark Stevens at Sixways
Having traded blows with a spirited Worcester Warriors for 40 minutes, Rob Baxter’s Exeter Chiefs side delivered the knockout punch during a powerful second half onslaught at Sixways.
Winger James Short led the way for the Chiefs who made it ten from ten in terms of Premiership victories over the Warriors, brushing aside the Midlanders with a seven-try salvo that lifted them level on points with second-placed Saracens.
Skipper Gareth Steenson, Olly Woodburn, Sam Simmonds and Michele Campagnaro completed the job for the visitors, while Steenson and Henry Slade weighed in with the remaining points thanks to successful kicks at goal.
In reply, the Warriors were rewarded with a losing bonus point, Jackson Willison’s last-minute try gave them that. However, further scores from Josh Adams, Perry Humphreys and Bryce Heem were never going to be enough, neither was the kicking of Devon-born playmaker Ryan Mills.
Having shared the spoils with leaders Wasps the week previous, Baxter was forced into changes ahead of kick-off in the Midlands. Up front Luke Cowan-Dickie (knee) was ruled out, so Jack Yeandle was promoted from the bench to help anchor the front-row. That was until the club captain was forced to withdraw from the action in the warm-up due to illness.
South African Shaun Malton was duly promoted from the bench with Elvis Taione hauled onto the bench having receovered from his broken thumb. Elsewhere, Geoff Parling came into the second row for the suspended Jonny Hill, while behind there was a new midfield pairing of Henry Slade and Michele Campagnaro.
The Warriors, fresh from defeating reigning champions Saracens last time out, handed starts to Jaba Bregvadze and Dewald Potgieter, while their back division remained unchanged
In a storming start to the contest from the home side, they opened their account inside three minutes, stunning the Chiefs with a ferocious opening blitz that was finished off by full-back Adams and converted by Mills.
Home joy proved short-lived, however, as within minutes the Chiefs drew level with their first attack of the game. Short and Campagnaro led the charge with two strong carries, after which Steenson collected a pass, dropped his shoulder and spotted the gap for him to race over for a rare try, he also converted.
Clearly inspired by their victory over Saracens, the spring in the step of the home side was clear to see and when Mills edged them back in front with a penalty, they stunned the Chiefs once more on 13 minutes, claiming a second try as Humphreys crossed in the left-hand corner after the home side had exposed the numbers game out wide.
Mills could have added to his tally as the half progressed, but twice he failed with long-range penalty attempts, as well as the conversion to the score from Humphreys.
At the other end, the Chiefs showed how ruthless they could be, grabbing a second converted try when winger Short was on hand to glide over after more good approach work involving the industrious Campagnaro and back-row forward Don Armand.
Fly-half Mills, however, atoned for his earlier misses, this time finding the target with a second penalty after the Chiefs fell foul of referee JP Doyle for wheeling a scrum on their own 10m line.
The conclusion to an entertaining first half belonged to the Chiefs and in one final attacking press, they were rewarded with a Steenson penalty after the Warriors would deemed to have played the ball on the floor.
HALF TIME WORCESTER WARRIORS 18 EXETER CHIEFS 17
On the resumption it was Baxter’s side who were quickest out of the traps, laying siege on the home line straight from the kick-off.
Launching a plethora of attacking waves, Worcester did well to initially hold the Chiefs threat. However, when No.8 Alafoti Faosiliva was singled out for a late shoulder charge, not only did he get sent to the cooler for ten minutes, but it gave the visitors the chance to strike.
Declining the kickable shot at goal, Steenson kicked for the corner instead. The initial threat was repelled, but when the Devonians went again, they fashioned the opening for winger Woodburn to coast over in the right corner for try number three.
In front for the first time in the contest, the Chiefs wasted little time in kicking on. Countering from deep inside their own half through Sam Simmonds and Dave Dennis, Worcester did well to scramble back to halt the Aussie, but could do nothing when the second phase saw Short pick a lovely line and race over for his second of the afternoon, this time converted by Slade.
Somewhat shell-shocked by the Exeter tidal wave, it was to get no easier for the home side as the Chiefs rammed home a sixth try, this time through Simmonds, who was on hand to drive over from a well orchestrated driving maul deep inside the Worcester 22.
To their credit, the Warriors regrouped well and in a rare foray into enemy territory, they used a catalogue of attacking phases to create a decent platform. Initially, the Chiefs did well to repel the danger, but when they pressed again it was Kiwi winger Heem, who latched onto a simple pop pass to trace in under the sticks for the score, converted by Mills.
Any hopes of a Worcester fight-back were quickly doused as Devon’s finest re-gathered their composure to get themselves back on the front foot. The forwards did the necessary donkey work, inching their way down the synthetic surface, before it was fed out to England international Slade, who offered a sublime backdoor offload to Campagnaro, who was able to race in under the posts for the converted try.
Minutes later and they were at it again, Short this time latching onto a laser-guided long pass from Slade, before turning on the after burners and scorching over for his hat-trick score in the left corner.
The Chiefs could have added to their tally in the latter stages, but with the game effectively over as a contest it was no real surprise that they switched off somewhat. Worcester, still sensing they could get something from their afternoon, pressed hard and they were rewarded when, with the final move of the match, Willison was put through to sneak in for the all-important fourth score, converted by Lamb.
In the grand scheme of things it could yet be a crucial bonus for the Warriors in their relegation scrap with Bristol, who were on the end of a thumping at Leicester Tigers. For the Chiefs, meanwhile, it’s onwards and upwards with much-improved Newcastle Falcons next on the agenda.
Warriors: J Adams; B Heem, W Olivier, J Willison, P Humphreys (B Howard 61); R Mills (R Lamb 67), F Hougaard (L Baldwin 64); R Bower (N Leleimalefaga 55), J Bregvadze (J Taufete’e 55), N Schoert (B Alo 69); D O’ Callaghan (capt, T Cavubati 61), W Spencer; C Vui, D Potgieter (S Lewis 64), A Faosiliva.
Tries – Adams, Humphreys, Heem, Willison; Conversions – Mills (2), Lamb; Penalties – Mills (2)
Yellow Card: Faosiliva
Chiefs: P Dollman (L Turner 69); O Woodburn, M Campagnaro, H Slade, J Short; G Steenson (capt, I Whitten 49), J Maunder (S Townsend 65); B Moon (C Rimmer 53), S Malton (E Taione 74), H Williams (T Francis 53); M Lees, G Parling; D Dennis (S Skinner 69) D Armand, S Simmonds (T Waldrom 55)
Tries – Steenson, Short (3), Woodburn, S Simmonds, Campagnaro; Conversions – Steenson (2), Slade (3); Penalty – Steenson
Referee: JP Doyle