Springbok red carded as Leicester Tigers end Exeter Chiefs’ play-off run

Planet Rugby
Jasper Wiese Leicester Tigers Premiership 2024 - Alamy.jpg

Leicester Tigers number eight Jasper Wiese.

A red card for departing number eight Jasper Wiese was not enough to dampen Leicester Tigers’ mood as they sealed a 40-22 triumph over Exeter Chiefs, who missed out on a place in the Premiership play-offs.

An away victory Sale Sharks over Saracens meant the result at Welford Road was academic, but this was nevertheless the ideal way for the eighth-placed Tigers to finish what has been a difficult campaign.

The only negative of the encounter was Wiese’s red card in what was his final game for the Tigers, while results elsewhere meant the Chiefs dropped two places to seventh on the final day of the regular season.

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Needing a win, Exeter had the start they wanted in the seventh minute when Dan John’s neat off-load, after being tackled by Ollie Hassell-Collins, put Olly Woodburn into space and he timed his pass to send Immanuel Feyi-Waboso clear down the right.

Henry Slade added the conversion from out wide before Handre Pollard’s penalty put Leicester on the board after Chiefs were pinged for offside in front of their posts.

The Tigers then went ahead after 21 minutes when Hassell-Collins raced in from halfway, albeit aided by a couple of flimsy tackles from Woodburn and Harvey Skinner.

A second try for the hosts should have arrived three minutes later when Mike Brown gathered Pollard’s cross-field kick and stepped inside, but Freddie Steward fumbled his pass.

However, it was not long before Leicester did score again as Jack van Poortvliet’s footwork from the base of a ruck allowed him to evade two tacklers and go clear.

Exeter’s chances then suffered another blow when Woodburn was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Dan Kelly, with Pollard knocking over the resulting penalty.

Premiership semi-finals and kick-off times confirmed

Slade pulled back three points for the Chiefs to make it 20-10 just before half-time, but they had to start the second half without Feyi-Waboso after he saw yellow for a deliberate knock-on.

Within three minutes of the restart, Leicester had their third try when Kelly’s long pass put Hassell-Collins into space and the winger’s ball outside put Tommy Reffell in at the corner.

Tigers captain Julian Montoya then slid into touch a metre from the line after breaking off a driving maul, but the bonus point was soon in the bag for the hosts.

Matt Scott was denied the honours as he was brilliantly tackled by Woodburn, but Brown was quickly on the scene to pick up and score.

With their play-off hopes disappearing, Exeter pulled a try back through Dan Frost before Wiese was sent off in the 68th minute for spearing Ross Vintcent at a breakdown.

Vintcent gained some retribution when some quick hands led to him scoring down the right, but two penalties from Premiership debutant Kieran Wilkinson finally ended Exeter’s hopes of a comeback.

The teams

Leicester: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Mike Brown, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Dan Kelly, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Jack van Poortvliet, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 5 Harry Wells, 4 George Martin, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Julián Montoya (c), 1 Francois van Wyk
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 James Cronin, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Finn Carnduff, 20 Olly Cracknell, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Kieran Wilkinson, 23 Solomone Kata

Exeter: 15 Dan John, 14 Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Joe Hawkins, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Harvey Skinner, 9 Tom Cairns, 8 Greg Fisilau, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Ethan Roots, 5 Dafydd Jenkins (c), 4 Jack Dunne, 3 Marcus Street, 2 Max Norey, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Dan Frost, 17 Billy Keast, 18 Ehren Painter, 19 Christ Tshiunza, 20 Ross Vintcent, 21 Niall Armstrong, 22 Will Haydon-Wood, 23 Zack Wimbush

Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant Referees: Hamish Smales, John Meredith
TMO: Rowan Kitt

READ MORE: Quiz: Can you name the all-time Premiership top try scorers?