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Saracens pull through at Exeter

23rd November 2013 16:54

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Bruiser: Billy Vunipola

Premiership leaders Saracens clung on for a 16-9 win over Devon-based Exeter Chiefs on their trip to Sandy Park on Saturday.

Sarries enjoyed an impressive first half and went 13-3 up at the break through Ben Ransom's try and eight points from the boot of Alex Goode.

Phil Dollman's penalty was Exeter's sole response before half-time and Gareth Steenson kicked another two after the interval, but Marcelo Bosch's three-pointer sealed the win.

Despite enjoying a fine start to this season, the visitors were humbled 41-20 by Northampton Saints before bouncing back against Newcastle Falcons 40-3 at home.

However, with several of their internationals back in action following the autumn series, they opened the game impressively. Just five minutes had elapsed when one of those England players, Chris Ashton, broke through and set up Ransom to go over for a 7-0 lead.

Having received that setback, Exeter then went on the front foot and they went close a number of times, but superb Sarries defence kept Rob Baxter's men out. And when the away side lifted the pressure once more, Steenson was sin-binned for a deliberate knock on.

Goode kicked the resultant opportunity before Dollman, taking over duties with the Chiefs' stand-off off the field, reduced the deficit with a penalty.

But Sarries' fly-half then restored their 10-point advantage as they went into the interval 13-3 ahead.

The hosts started well after the interval and Steenson scored his first points of the afternoon, but Bosch's long range three-pointer once again kept Exeter at arm's length.

Although Steenson took the Chiefs to within losing bonus-point territory, Saracens held on despite a late surge from the West Country team.

The scorers:

For Exeter:
Pens: Dollman, Steenson 2
Yellow Card: Steenson

For Saracens:
Try: Ransom
Con: Goode
Pens: Goode 2, Bosch

Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Dave Ewers, 7 Ben White, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (capt), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Don Armand, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Luke Arscott.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Tim Streather, 12 Marcelo Bosch, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Jamie George, 1 Richard Barrington.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Jared Saunders, 18 Petrus Du Plessis, 19 George Kruis, 20 Will Fraser, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Michael Tagicakibau, 23 Ben Ransom.

Referee: tba
Assistant referees: Roger Baileff, Andrew Pearce
Timekeeper: Eric Bullion
Television match official: David Sainsbury

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