Exeter up to fourth with win

Date published: December 24 2016

Exeter picked up a 31-10 bonus-point victory over Leicester at Sandy Park, jumping above the Tigers in the Premiership standings.

Thomas Waldrom scored two tries in the first quarter before they were awarded a penalty try for a deliberate knock-on.

Gareth Steenson's three-pointer in the second period effectively secured the victory and, although Harry Thacker and Jono Kitto went over for Leicester, the Chiefs garnered the bonus-point via Ollie Devoto.

The Tigers remained in Premiership play-off contention, despite the defeat and enduring what seemed to be an inauspicious first-half of the season. Their loss to Exeter took them out of the top-four but, considering their away day blues this year, it could have been much worse for England's most successful club.

Richard Cockerill's men found themselves on the back foot almost immediately at Sandy Park and struggled to contain the hosts' drive.

The maul is a staple of the Chiefs' game and it came to the fore early on when Waldrom burrowed over from close range for a 7-0 advantage.

With the Tigers struggling for continuity in attack, the West Countrymen maintained their dominance and duly extended their buffer to 14. For the second time in the match Exeter's number eight was the player to score, crossing the whitewash following a succession of phases near the opposition line.

Cockerill needed a response from his charges but, with half-time approaching, the visitors conceded once more after Graham Kitchener was deemed to have deliberately knocked on. Kitchener was sent to the sin-bin and referee Tom Foley awarded a penalty try as the home team moved 21 points clear.

Steenson's three-pointer early in the second period increased the Midlanders' agony before Leicester finally mounted a response. They put Rob Baxter's men under duress and, although Ed Slater had an effort ruled out for a knock-on, Thacker rewarded their pressure.

Ultimately, it was too late for a comeback and Exeter, who had the comfort of a sizeable lead, secured the bonus-point after Devoto scampered over.

The Tigers did have the final word through Kitto but it was another disappointing away performance by the Welford Road-based outfit.

The scorers:

For Exeter:
Tries: Waldrom 2, Penalty Try, Devoto
Cons: Steenson 4
Pen: Steenson

For Leicester:
Tries: Thacker, Kitto

Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Ollie Devoto, 12 Henry Slade, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Gareth Steenson (c), 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Don Armand, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Sam Hill, 23 James Short

Leicester: 15 Freddie Burns, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Jack Roberts, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Luke Hamilton, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Mike Fitzgerald, 4 Ed Slater (c), 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Will Evans, 21 Jono Kitto, 22 George Worth, 23 Tom Brady

Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell, Phil Watters
TMO: David Rose