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- Team Name
- Exeter Chiefs
- Team Score
- Team Icon
- Team Name
- Worcester Warriors
- Team Score
- Pictures: Exeter Rugby Club/Pinnacle Photo Agency
Exeter Chiefs 33
Worcester Warriors 9
Mark Stevens at Sandy Park
With America’s East Coast still counting the cost of the havoc caused by Hurricane Sandy, back here in Devon the Chiefs were able to inflict their own trail of destruction as they returned to winning ways in the Aviva Premiership with a 33-9 victory over Worcester Warriors.
Still nursing the wounds of three successive league and cup defeats, Rob Baxter’s side rediscovered their winning formula at just the right time as they overcame the Midlanders for a third time in the top flight thanks to tries from Gonzalo Camacho, Haydn Thomas and Chris Budgen, plus a 16-point haul from fly-half Gareth Steenson and another three from Ignacio Mieres.
The Warriors countered with three penalties from their own No.10, Andy Goode, but that was all that had to smile about on a torrid afternoon for them in the Westcountry.
Determined to bounce back following their loss at Bath the week previous, Baxter made four changes to his starting line-up for the visit of the Midlanders. In the pack there were recalls for Chris Whitehead, Aly Muldowney and skipper Tom Hayes, whilst behind Fijian force Sireli Naqelevuki was also included in place of the injured Jason Shoemark.
Likewise, the Warriors also made a handful of changes to their winning formula from that which had seen off lowly Sale Sharks last time out. In the front row Ceri Jones and Ed Shervington were both given their first starts of the league campaign; Dean Schofield returned to captain the visitors, whilst Chris Jones was named at No.8 and former Chief Josh Drauniniu was included on the left wing.
It was, however, Baxter’s Chiefs who wasted little time in spelling out their attacking ambitions for the day. Just three minutes had elapsed when the home side were afforded their first chance following a clever burst in field from winger Matt Jess. But as Worcester paid the price for transgressing, sadly Steenson could not take advantage as his long-range effort cannoned back off the right post.
The let-off for the visitors was only momentary as just two minutes the Chiefs broke the deadlock when Luke Arscott’s clever grubber kick in behind the Worcester defence allowed Argentine speedster to hack on before winning the foot race to the line ahead of Paul Hodgson and Josh Matavesi.
Irishman Steenson landed the easy conversion, before extending Exeter’s advantage yet further with three more penalties in the first 20 minutes as the Warriors continued to fall foul of referee David Rose for a string of infringements at the breakdown.
With the Chiefs ruling the roost in every department, Camacho could easily have claimed a second score had another fly-hack not fallen invitingly into the arms of Worcester full-back Chris Pennell after the impressive Dean Mumm had intercepted a Goode pass in midfield.
However, the wait for further home points was not long in coming as Steenson obliged with a fourth penalty after the visitors were pulled up for pulling down an Exeter maul deep inside their own territory.
To say it was one-way traffic was somewhat of an understatement, particularly as it took until the 28th minute of the contest for the Warriors to make their first venture into the home 22.
That said, Worcester did finally find a bit of form just before the break as a string of penalties allowed them to set up camp deep inside the home half. But despite their best endeavours to break through the home defence, all they could muster in a torrid first 40 minutes was a Goode penalty on the stroke of half time.
HALF TIME EXETER CHIEFS 19 WORCESTER WARRIORS 3
As expected, the Warriors came out strongly after the break and within minutes that had reduced the deficit as former England international Goode plundered his second successful kick of the game after Hayes was adjudged to have played the ball on the floor.
Exeter’s response was encouraging enough as Arscott, Jess and then Naqelevuki all threatened to cause havoc with some strong running from deep, but some valiant defensive work from the visitors, coupled with some indecision in the home ranks, meant the scoreline remained untouched.
With the home side failing to capitalise in such key areas, it meant Richard Hill’s side were able to keep themselves alive in the contest as the game entered into the final quarter.
Baxter threw on fresh stock with the introduction of Messrs Moon, Clark, Hanks and Whitten, but it was the Warriors who struck again as Goode landed a third penalty after Mumm became the latest Chief to fall foul of referee Rose.
Sensing the opportunity may be there for Worcester to pounce in the closing stages, the Chiefs regrouped to good effect and eased any late worries by running in two converted tries.
Scrum-half Thomas was the first over the whitewash, sniping over from close range after strong running from Arscott and Richard Baxter; before the evergreen Budgen was able to rumble over from a few yards for try number three.
It was a poignant moment for Exeter’s elder statesman, who immediately pointed to the sky, dedicating his effort to his recently deceased twin boys.
In between both scores, Worcester’s cause was hardly helped by the sin-binning of Cornishman Sam Betty, whose blatant and needless late charge on Mieres left the home fly-half pole-axed as he looked to follow up a chip kick.
For the Chiefs, though, it’s now onto the LV= Cup these next two weeks, where rivals London Welsh and the Ospreys await. After which the Premiership will return in earnest with a testing trip to the Madejski to face London Irish.
Chiefs: L Arscott; G Camacho, S Naqelevuki (I Whitten 65), P Dollman, M Jess; G Steenson (I Mieres 73), H Thomas (K Barrett 73); B Sturgess (B Moon 65), C Whitehead (N Clark 62), C Rimmer (C Budgen 73); T Hayes (capt, J Hanks 62), A Muldowney; D Mumm (D Ewers 70), J Scaysbrook, R Baxter.
Tries - Camacho, Thomas, Budgen; Conversions - Steenson (2), Mieres; Penalties - Steenson (4)
Warriors: C Pennell; J Drauniniu (R Fatiaki 49), A Grove, J Matavesi (J Carlisle 73), A Short; A Goode, P Hodgson (J Arr 69); C Jones (M Mullan 52), E Shervington (A Lutui 62), J Andress (J Currie 73); J Percival, D Schofield (capt, S Taulava 56); S Betty, M Kvesic (C Gillies 73), C Jones.
Penalties - Goode (3)
Yellow Card: Betty
Referee: D Rose
Touch Judges: A Rowden & P Burton
4th Official: L Pearce
UP NEXT FOR THE CHIEFS v London Welsh (A), LV= Cup, Sunday, November 11 (4pm)