Exeter Chiefs came from behind to defeat London Irish 29-23 in their Aviva Premiership clash at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
Exeter Chiefs came from behind to beat London Irish 29-23 in their Aviva Premiership clash at the Madejski Stadium in Reading on Saturday.
In a tight first-half, Nic Rouse's converted touchdown and Ian Humphreys' penalty took the hosts into a 10-9 lead at the interval, while Gareth Steenson's accurate boot was Exeter's response.
Humphreys and Steenson traded three-pointers in the second period before Marland Yarde's score took the hosts clear.
However, Dean Mumm and Ben White crossed in the final 13 minutes to overturn that deficit and record a second win of the campaign.
Irish are favourites for relegation in some quarters, but they secured a vital victory over Worcester Warriors last week. They were up against an Exeter side that have enjoyed a similar start this season having heavily lost their opening game to Northampton Saints before overcoming London Wasps in round two.
It was the visitors who started the brighter and were rewarded when Steenson slotted over an early penalty. Humphreys restored parity almost immediately, but successive three-pointers from the visiting stand-off took the Chiefs 9-3 ahead after 24 minutes.
Halani Aulika then had an effort ruled out by the Television Match Official before the Exiles finally registered a deserved try when Rouse powered over, which gave them a 10-9 lead at the break.
Despite that setback just before half-time, Exeter regained their advantage through the boot of Steenson, but a yellow card for Tom James saw Rob Baxter's men reduced to 14 men.
It was to prove costly as the hosts' stand-off kicked the resultant penalty opportunity and Yarde went over for his fourth try of the season a minute later.
With James still off the field Humphreys extended Irish's lead, but the Chiefs' fly-half kept them in the game with his fifth from the tee.
When Mumm touched down, Exeter sensed that the win was within their sights, and the pressure eventually told as White powered across the whitewash.
For London Irish:
Tries: Rouse, Yarde
Cons: Humphreys 2
Pens: Humphreys 3
Tries: Mumm, White
Cons: Steenson 2
Pens: Steenson 5
London Irish: 15 Topsy Ojo, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Andrew Fenby, 10 Ian Humphreys; 9 TomÃ¡s O'Leary (c), 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Bryn Evans, 6 Declan Danaher, 5 Jebb Sinclair, 4 Nic Rouse, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Matt Parr.
Replacements: 16 Jimmy Stevens, 17 John Yapp, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Ian Nimmo, 20 Gerard Ellis, 21 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Darren Allinson.
Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Ian Whitten, 13 Jason Shoemark, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Tom James, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Tom Johnson, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Ben White, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (capt), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Carl Rimmer, 19 Tom Hayes, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Matt Jess.
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Andy Watson, tba
Television match official: Sean Davey