Two late tries helped Exeter to a dramatic 31-26 victory at Worcester on Saturday that takes them fourth in the Aviva Premiership.
Two late tries helped Exeter Chiefs to a dramatic 31-26 victory at Worcester on Saturday, which moves them up to fourth in the Aviva Premiership.
The Chiefs were first out of the blocks at Sixways, showing the form that has led them to the brink of the playoffs, as Argentine fly-half Ignacio Mieres followed up an early successful penalty with an excellent cross-field kick to find Luke Arscott for the first try of the game.
The home side hit back as the first half wore on though with two tries either side of another Mieres penalty for the visitors. The first was all down to the forwards as a well-worked line-out resulted in a try for veteran lock Craig Gillies.
In contrast, the second came courtesy of the electric pace of Miles Benjamin, the Leicester-bound winger racing clear to touch down after the ball had been hacked ahead.
The away side had more to play for though and they went into the half-time interval ahead after a slick backs move was finished off by South African centre Bryan Rennie late on.
Mieres and Andy Goode exchanged penalties at the start of the second half but Exeter's cause was severely hampered as they went down to thirteen men for a short period, Arscott and Gonzalo Camacho both sinbinned for cynical offences.
All Worcester could muster was two Goode penalties though as the Chiefs did well to hang on whilst at a numerical disadvantage.
When Goode added his fourth penalty of the half with ten minutes remaining though to take the lead to seven points and Exeter could not find an immediate response, it looked like the game might be up.
Indeed, it still looked that way as Gareth Steenson missed the conversion to centre Phil Dollman's try with a minute left on the clock to leave them two points adrift of their hosts.
But the Chiefs pulled off another remarkable comeback with the last play of the match as replacement Sireli Naqelevuki forced his way over to win it and move Exeter ahead of Northampton in the table and into the final playoff berth.
Tries: Gillies, Benjamin
Con: Goode 2
Pen: Goode 4
Tries: Jess, Rennie, Dollman, Naqelevuki
Pen: Mieres 3
Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Dale Rasmussen, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Shaun Perry (c), 8 Blair Cowan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Neil Best, 5 Craig Gillies, 4 James Percival, 3 Tevita Taumoepeau, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 George Porter, 18 Bruce Douglas, 19 Ben Gulliver, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Danny Gray, 23 Ravai Fatiaki.
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Bryan Rennie, 12 Phil Dollman, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Tom Hayes (capt), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Chris Whitehead, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Neil Clark, 17 Brett Sturgess, 18 Chris Budgen, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Ben White 21 Kevin Barrett, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Sireli Naqelevuki.
Referee: Andrew Small