Exeter proved that last season was no fluke after defeating Leicester 30-28 at Welford Road in their Aviva Premiership opener.
Exeter proved that last season was no fluke after defeating Leicester 30-28 at Welford Road in their 2011/12 Aviva Premiership opener on Saturday.
Sireli Naqelevuki got the Chiefs off to the perfect start with a try after just 23 seconds but the hosts hit back quickly through a try to Thomas Waldrom.
Both scores were converted and the game was tied, but a George Ford drop-goal on nine minutes put Leicester in front.
Ignacio Mieres restored parity with a penalty goal shortly after, but the hosts quickly hit the front again through an unconverted Niall Morris try.
The rest of the half would belong to the Chiefs. Tom Johnson's try, converted by Mieres, gave the visitors the lead for the second time in the match, and two further Mieres penalties meant the West Country outfit held a 15-23 lead at the interval.
Billy Twelvetrees cut in to the lead early in the second half with a penalty, but the Chiefs edged further ahead when Matthew Jess scored a try on 50 minutes. Mieres was once again on target with the boot.
Twelvetrees again reduced the deficit for the Tigers before a converted Niall Morris try just before the hour reduced Exeter's advantage to two points.
Tension was building and a crowd over 18,000 packed in to Welford Road were lapping up the entertainment on show.
The home side were becoming increasingly desperate to find a crucial match-winning score but the Chiefs' defence held strong.
Steenson missed three penalties for Exeter, while Ford missed with a drop-goal attempt in the final minutes that would have won the game for Leicester. Instead, the Chiefs hung on for victory.
Tries: Waldrom, Morris 2
Con: Twelvetrees 2
Pen: Twelvetrees 2
Tries: Naqelevuki, Johnson, Jess
Con: Mieres 3
Pen: Mieres 3
Leicester: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Matt Smith, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Mathew Tait, 10 George Ford, 9 James Grindal, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 George Skivington, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 George Chuter (capt), 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Jonny Harris, 18 Peter Bucknall, 19 Ben Woods, 20 Tom Armes, 21 Mickey Young, 22 Andy Forsyth, 23 Niall Morris.
Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Josh Tatupu, 13 Sireli Naqelevuki,12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook (capt), 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Peter Short, 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Chris Whitehead, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Neil Clark, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Chris Budgen, 19 Tom Hayes, 20 Ben White, 21 Kevin Barrett, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Bryan Rennie.
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth