Chiefs 56 Pirates 3
Exeter Chiefs 56
Cornish Pirates 3
Mark Stevens at Sandy Park
Exeter Chiefs returning to winning ways with aplomb as they ran in eight tries to sink visiting Cornish Pirates 56-3 in yesterday's pre-season encounter at Sandy Park.
The Aviva Premiership club put to bed the disappointment of their narrow loss at home to Connacht the week previous by producing some impressive running rugby in front of a crowd of just over 4,000.
Samoan international Josh Tatupu grabbed a first half try-double, as did summer signing Will Chudley, whilst Ben White, Kai Horstmann, Jack Nowell and Mark Foster also got on the scoresheet as the power, pace and precision of the Chiefs proved too much for the Cornishmen.
Ignacio Mieres and Myles Dorrian shared the remainder of Exeter's points with the boot, whilst all the visitors could muster in terms of a response was a Kieran Hallett penalty.
Afterwards, Chiefs' head coach Rob Baxter said: "The most pleasing thing for me was the things we highlighted in the week; the things we didn't do right against Connacht; we addressed them well in training this week and again in the game. A lot of that, I thought, was down to our intensity and the way we carried the ball, but also our work at the breakdown was also very good and if you work hard, then more often than not it will create space out wide very quickly."
Baxter praised not only his own players, but also the Pirates who, despite the end scoreline, played their part in an entertaining encounter.
"We knew the Pirates would prove a decent test for us," added Baxter. "We don't play Championship sides just because we think they are poor sides, this Pirates team came second last year in championship and have some very good players. I think it was unfortuante for them that we lost to Connacht last week because it definitely gave us a bit more steel and points to prove."
After thedefeat to Connacht, Baxter opted to field a powerful line-up that showed 13 changes, including first starts for summer signings Damian Welch, Horstmann and Chudley.
However, it was Tatupu - who along with Sireli Naqelevuki were the two players that were kept on duty from the Connacht game - that made the first telling impression on the game when he was able to cross in the right-hand corner following good build-up play from the home.
Argentine international Mieres dispatched the conversion from wide on the right, before doubling his tally when Tatupu was able to race in for his second score, this time applying the finish after skipper Jason Shoemark and Naqelevuki had combined to good effect in midfield.
It was the ideal start for the Chiefs, who then added a third converted try on 19 minutes when scrum-half Chudley was able to dart over from just two metres out following more good work from the rampaging home pack.
Although Exeter continued to dominate territory and possession as the half ticked by, they were unable to add to their tally and it was the Cornish club who finally got on the scoresheet just three minutes before the break when fly-half Kieran Hallett slotted a penalty after the Chiefs were pulled up from entering a ruck illegally.
It was a mere blip for the Premiership club, who with the very last action of the half added a fourth converted try through the impressive Chudley, who sniped off the back of a ruck to coast in under the sticks after initial approach work from Luke Arscott and Foster.
HALF TIME EXETER CHIEFS 28 CORNISH PIRATES 3
Baxter rung the changes during the break with Tom Johnson, Mieres, Shoemark and Naqelevuki all departing following a decent 40-minute run-out, whilst into the fray came White, Dorrian, Sam Hill and Nic Sestaret.
And it didn't take the new stock long to make their mark as first White crossed from close range for try number; then Horstmann showed a good pair of heels to the Pirates defence when he collected a pass from Dorrian to claim his maiden score in Exeter colours.
Dorrian plundered the extras to both those scores and two more from the now rampant hosts. Replacement full-back Jack Nowell was the next over when he showed a superb turn of speed to leave the Pirates defence in their wake; then winger Foster got in on the scoring act as he collected a gift pass from Dorrian to make it 56-3.
To their credit the Pirates, who were being forced to rotate their squad in the latter stages of the game, kept toiling away in the heat and they came within a whisker of claiming a late score through Tom Kessell.
Sadly the Chiefs were in miserly mood and it took a combination of Junior Poluleuligaga and Jack Nowell to deny the Pirates back, before Will Carrick-Smith did similar to deny another late raid from the Cornishmen.
Pirates head coach Ian Davies refused to be too downbeat at the final whistle, adding: "I suppose the first real positive is that it's two points better than last year. We knew it was going to be tough because Exeter are a class outfit and they have so much strength in depth.
"I thought our line-out went well, we defended the maul well, which is a big strength of Exeter's, but we couldn't do consistently in areas to hurt Exeter. We fell off too many tackles and allow their big runners, of which there are many, to keep coming at us. That allowed them to get quick ball and they were tough to stop."
That said, Davies is well aware he is unlikely to face such a threat in the Championship on a weekly basis. He said: "I bloody hope not. We knew this was going to be our toughest test of pre-season and so it's proved. We'll go away from here, have a look at things and we'll get ourselves ready for Newport next week and then the start of the season. As I said, it was a good test for us and highlighted one or two areas we need to work on.
Chiefs: L Arscott (J Nowell 57); M Foster, S Naqelevuki (N Sestaret h/t), J Shoemark (capt, S Hill h/t), J Tatupu (J Arnott 57); I Mieres (M Dorrian h/t), W Chudley (J Poluleuligaga 49); B Sturgess (C Rimmer 49), S Alcott (J Yeandle 57), C Mitchell (C Budgen 57); D Welch, A Muldowney (W Carrick-Smith 69); J Phillips (D Ewers 54), T Johnson (B White h/t), K Horstmann (J Blanchet 73).
Tries - Tatupu (2), Chudley (2), White, Horstmann, Nowell, Foster; Conversions - Mieres (4), Dorrian (4)
Pirates: M Evans (K Hallett 49); G Pointer (T Kessell 49), A Cheeseman, J Fatialofa (T Riley h/t), T Bedford; K Hallett (A Penberthy h/t), T Kessell (G Cattle h/t); P Andrew (R Storer 49), R Elloway (D Semmens 49), A Paver (B Prescott 20, P Andrew 75); D Lyons, G Johnson (B Maidment 67); K Marriott (capt), P Burgess, B Maidment.
Penalty - Hallett
Referee: D Rose
UP NEXT FOR THE CHIEFS: v Glasgow Warriors (A), Pre-Season Friendly, Thursday, August 23 (7.30pm)