Steenson brilliance stops Saracens

Date published: November 30 2014

Exeter moved up to second in the Aviva Premiership after they comfortably shut out Saracens at Sandy Park for a 27-9 victory.

Exeter moved up to second in the Aviva Premiership after they comfortably shut out Saracens at Sandy Park for a 27-9 victory.

An in-form Exeter stepped up to the occasion again as they looked to carry out yet another giant-slaying.

They kept Saracens at arms length throughout the first half, forcing the visitors to play from a long way out.

Saracens could hardly put a foot right, conceding six penalties and only bagging two of their own to end the half at 18-6.

Charlie Hodgson converted both of the Saracens penalties whilst Gareth Steenson was on target for all six of Exeter’s including James Johnston’s scrum infringement that saw him yellow carded a minute before half-time.

Saracens continued to find it hard to string anything together in the second half, as they struggled to unlock a disciplined Chiefs defence.

The penalties kept ticking over in favour of Exeter and by the time Maro Itoje finally got Saracens their try it was too little to late.

Exeter played with a controlled dominance from kick off and in the end the sheer number of forced penalties overwhelmed the visitors.

Hodgson and Steenson traded two penalties each in the opening 18 minutes to keep the scores level at 6-6.

However an under-pressure Saracens side were forced into mistakes which led to Steenson converting four more before half time.

The Chiefs were penalised at the breakdown and Hodgson took the opportunity to close the gap by three.

That wasn’t the case for long though as Saracens were penalised for the same reason five minutes later to make it 21-9.

Saracens converted another penalty after 49 minutes only to have it cancelled out by Steenson leaving the scores at 24-12.

Nowell had a TMO decision go against him when he went over after 71 minutes but that didn’t matter in the end as Steenson closed the scoring for Exeter knocking through his ninth penalty in nine attempts.

Saracens scored the only try of the match on 80 minutes when a comedy of errors in the Chiefs ranks saw Itoje put the ball down between the posts. Goode converted to finish the tie at 27-9.

The scorers:

For Exeter:
Pens: Steenson 9

For Saracens:
Try: Itoje
Con: Goode
Pens: Hodgson 4
Yellow Card: Johnston

Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Don Armand, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (c), 3 Moray Low, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Ryan Caldwell, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Ian Whitten, 23 Byron McGuigan.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Chris Wyles, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Will Fraser, 5 Alistair Hargreaves (c), 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 James Johnston, 2 Jamie George, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Maro Itoje, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Nick Tompkins, 23 Ben Ransom

Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton, Gareth Copsey
TMO: Geoff Warren.