Gareth Steenson kicked a last-minute penalty to hand Exeter a 40-39 victory over Gloucester and with it a place in the Heineken Cup.
Gareth Steenson kicked a last-minute penalty to hand Exeter a 40-39 Premiership victory over Gloucester and with it a place in the Heineken Cup next season.
The Chiefs had taken the spoils away at Wasps a week earlier while Gloucester had squeezed past Saracens, meaning both teams headed into the game in good form.
What would turn out to be a pulsating encounter was dominated in the early minutes by Exeter, who scored two tries and kicked two penalties to take an early foothold.
Gareth Steenson converted Dean Mumm's try following a Jack Nowell break, and added a penalty, before Damian Welch's unconverted score, and a second Steenson penalty.
That made it 18-0 but Gloucester roared back in the minutes that followed, with three tries following Freddie Burns' penalty.
Jonny May, Charlie Sharples and Henry Trinder all crossed the line, with Burns converting two out of the three to make it 18-22. But a penalty try awarded on the stroke of half-time handed the advantage back to Exeter, with Steenson's penalty early in the second half giving the hosts a cushion.
A further brace of penalties in the minutes that followed put Exeter further ahead, but two tries from the visitors in the final stages ensured a tense finish.
Robert Cook's converted try just shy of the hour got the ball rolling for Gloucester, before Burns added a penalty to make it 34-32.
Steenson added three points for Exeter shortly after, but Burns then got in on the try-scoring act and converted his own effort to give the visitors an astonishing lead.
Gloucester's indiscipline cost them in the final minute, however, allowing Steenson to step up and coolly slot over his seventh penalty to snatch back the lead and victory for Exeter.
Tries: Mumm, Welch, Penalty try
Cons: Steenson 2
Pens: Steenson 7
Tries: May, Sharples, Trinder, Cook, Burns
Cons: Burns 4
Pens: Burns 2
Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter (c), 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Ben White, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Craig Mitchell, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Ian Whitten.
Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Jonny May, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Ben Morgan 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Lua Lokotui, 4 Tom Savage (c), 3 Shaun Knight, 2 Koree Britton, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Yann Thomas, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Andy Hazell, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Mike Tindall, 23 Shane Monahan.
Venue: Sandy ParkReferee: Greg Garner
Assistant Referees: Peter Huckle and Paul Burton
TMO: Geoffrey Warren