Planet Rugby

Exeter

Exeter

Chiefs make champions sweat

13th October 2012 17:32

Share:

Simon Alcott Exeter Chiefs v Leinster

Brave effort: Exeter pushed Leinster all the way

Leinster were made to work very hard to grind out a 9-6 victory over Heineken Cup newcomers Exeter Chiefs in Dublin on Saturday.

Three Jonathan Sexton penalties proved enough to secure the result as the defending champions struggled to tame their visitors.

It could have been worse for Leinster but Argentina international Ignacio Mieres missed a last-minute penalty that would have snatched a draw for Exeter.

Led by man-of-the-match Tom Hayes, the Chiefs played the better rugby for much of a tryless Pool Five opener and looked right at home in Europe's top tournament.

Sexton twice put the home side in front with the boot in a cagey and low-scoring affair at the RDS Arena, once after 10 minutes of the first half and then again midway through the second half.

But Exeter were dogged throughout and never allowed the reigning European champions to get away from them, with Gareth Steenson matching his opposite number kick for kick.

The 28-year-old fly-half kicked penalties in the final minute of the first half and within just a couple of minutes of the Ireland number 10's second successful attempt to keep the home fans on the edge of their seat and fearing a shock upset.

The Chiefs were making it an uncomfortable afternoon for Leinster and a measure of the hosts' desperation was on show as full-back Ian Madigan decided to take on a drop goal from the halfway line.

Sexton did step up to restore order with his third penalty of the day in the final 10 minutes and the Irishmen looked to have done enough to scrape a narrow win to start the defence of their Heineken Cup crown.

Leinster did hold on and they did get off to a winning start but Exeter came within a whisker of coming away from Dublin with a draw that few would have argued that they deserved.

The tireless work of the Chiefs' pack was rewarded with a penalty just inside the Leinster half as the clock ticked over 80 minutes but, with Steenson off the field, Mieres was unable to convert it and the competition holders breathed an almighty collective sigh of relief.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Pens: Sexton 3

For Exeter:
Pens: Steenson 2

Leinster: 15 Ian Madigan, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Fergus McFadden, 11 Isa Nacewa, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Damian Browne, 4 Leo Cullen (capt), 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Leo Auva'a, 21 Jordi Murphy, 22 Isaac Boss, 23 Fionn Carr.

Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Ian Whitten, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Tom Hayes, 3 Carl Rimmer, 2 Simon Alcott, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Chris Budgen, 18 Ben Moon, 19 Ally Muldowney, 20 Dean Mumm, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Sireli Naqelevuki.

Venue: RDS
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant referees: Jean-Luc Rebollal (France), Cyril Lafon (France)
Television match official: Daniel Irazoqui (France)
Timekeeper: Andrew Baird (Ireland)
Assessor: Clayton Thomas (Wales)
Citing commissioner: Ray Wilton (Wales)

  • Exeter Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 29
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Saturday , December 20
Sale vs Exeter14:00
Saturday , December 27
Bath vs Exeter15:00
Saturday , January 3
Exeter vs Gloucester15:00
Sunday , January 11
London Irish vs Exeter15:00
Saturday , February 14
Exeter vs Newcastle15:00
Saturday , February 21
Harlequins vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
LV= Cup
Saturday , January 31
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Exeter15:00
Saturday , February 7
Saracens vs Exeter15:00
More LV= Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , December 4
La Rochelle vs Exeter19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
  • Exeter Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
Friday , November 14
Northampton 18 - 24 ExeterNorthampton vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
LV= Cup
Saturday , November 8
Exeter 18 - 6 BathExeter vs Bath Report
Saturday , November 1
Exeter 28 - 27 Gloucester
More LV= Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 25
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Saturday , October 18
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , October 11
Exeter 44 - 24 London Irish
More Aviva Premiership results
  • Table
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821