Chiefs bow out of Sevens

Pictures: Exeter Rugby Club/Pinnacle Photo Agency

By Mark Stevens

Exeter's hopes of making it into the final of this season's J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series ended in disappointment as the Chiefs finished third in their group at Gloucester's Kingsholm Ground on Thursday evening.

Ricky Pellow's youthful outfit put up a creditable showing on the night, but it was in vain as the hosting Cherry and Whites advanced to next week's final alongside Bath.

Having made the dream start in their opening game against Gloucester, courtesy of a converted Jack Arnott try, the Chiefs were then soundly dispatched by the home side as they recorded a 36-7 success thanks to tries from Dan Robson, Ian Clark (2), Jonny May, Gareth Evans and Shane Monahan.

Exeter produced a much better showing in their second match, but again they came up short against Bath as Danny Grewcock's side made it two wins in as many games with a 19-12 success.

Bath took the momentum of their Worcester victory into their clash with Exeter, and grabbed an early lead when Olly Woodburn glided through for the opening try.

But after a very cagey spell in which defences took the ascendancy, it was Exeter who hit back on the stroke of half-time, quick man Jack Arnott adding his second of the night as the Chiefs trailed 7-5 at the break.

Arnott had outstripped Woodburn for that Chiefs score but the Bath man got his revenge early in the second half as he used a subtle change of pace to leave the Exeter winger on the floor to gov over for his second.

But Exeter hit back through replacement Joel Conlon, who burst through two tackles to cover from just outside the 22, Luke Treharne's conversion making it 14-12.

With their lead under threat Bath responded, Matt Banahan making the initial break before quick hands from Tom Heathcote slipped the ball inside to Tom Biggs for his third of the evening.

The Chiefs, resplendant in the club's new pink Cup kit, finished on a high thanks to Luke Treharne's late conversion to defeat Worcester Warriors 26-24.

With little to play for apart from pride, it was always going to be a great opportunity for both sides to give it a go - and it was Exeter who drew first blood from a howler in the Warriors' defence.

The Chiefs were turned over when on the attack but Worcester's efforts to run from deep only saw the ball bounce into the hands of Jack Nowell, who dotted down.

Worcester hit back through skipper Jake Abbott, the back rower even adding the conversion for good measure to make it 7-7. However, with the Warriors reduced to six players Exeter scored next, spreading the ball wide to Joel Conlon to go over on the right.

Errie Claassens, a try scorer in each of the first two games, then got his third of the night breaking through the Chiefs defence to show his pace and tie it up at 14-14 at the break.

The second half followed the same pattern as the first with the Chiefs scoring first, a great team effort sending Jack Arnott over. But Worcester clearly didn't fancy going home without a win and drew level through former Exeter Chiefs back Josh Matavesi after a great wide pass by David Lemi.

A great break from Matavesi then set up another try for the Warriors, finished off by Ben Howard to give Worcester the lead for the first time. However, with time up Mike Pope spotted a gap and skipped away from a couple of desperate tackles to go under the posts - Treharne kept his nerve to slot the straightforward conversion.

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