Chiefs 47 London Scottish 10
Exeter Chiefs made it four wins out of four to kick off this seasons Premiership Cup campaign, with another bonus point victory over London Scottish at Sandy Park.
It may not have been the free-flowing contest of previous weeks but with a much changed squad and several youngsters brought in to the side, Director of Rugby Rob Baxter and his coaching team will no doubt be thrilled at the continuity and power that Exeter displayed, as they ran out 47-10 victors over a spirited London Scottish side.
Chiefs made a powerful start, claiming two early tries before the first-half got stuck in the mud, with neither team taking hold of the match.
London Scottish fought hard in the second forty, claiming two tries of their own but they were no match for the power of the Chiefs who notched up seven tries in total at a grey and blustery Sandy Park.
It was Scottish who came out of the blocks looking fired up, immediately taking the game to their Premiership opponents, and getting on the front foot. However, the Chiefs have looked fearsome in defence throughout the early stages of this competition, and it wasn’t long before their impressive line-speed had forced a turnover and earned possession back.
The opening quarter of an hour was all Chiefs, the home-side stringing phases together and battering into London Scottish shoulders. Zack Wimbush carrying hard early from the outside centre position and both Arthur Relton and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso looking threatening in the wide channels.
The pressure had to tell, and it was out wide that the home team found space. The ball whipped out to Relton wide on the left, who offloaded to number eight Ross Vintcent in the five metre channel. Head coach Ali Hepher made a mention of the young Italian’s speed during his press call earlier in the week, but it really needs to be seen to be believed.
Vintcent burned two London Scottish defenders for pace to score a phenomenal individual try, with Will Haydon-Wood adding the extras from the tee. Chiefs up by seven with 16 minutes on the clock.
From provider, to scorer, it was the youngster Relton who claimed the second of the match with another superb individual effort. Taking the ball with a full defensive line in front of him, the University of Exeter product cut inside and danced past a couple of flailing Scottish arms to score on the 24 minute mark.
For the remainder of the first half both teams remained deadlocked, struggling to keep a grip of possession for long enough to create any meaningful chances, until right on the bell, when the home side found their groove.
Exeter took the ball midway into the visitors half, and after some powerful carries from captain Ollie Devoto and big Matt Postlethwaite in the second row, the London Scottish defence began to splinter.
From the base of a ruck, Niall Armstrong, another off the University of Exeter production line, spotted the gap and pinned his ears back, stepping the full back to score a well deserved try and open up the lead heading into the sheds.
Half-Time: Exeter Chiefs 21 – 0 London Scottish
The second-half continued in much the same way, with the majority of the game played in the middle third, punctuated by moments of magic from the Chiefs to stretch their lead.
The first moment came from an unlikely source. Danny Southworth, the loosehead prop breaking through into the visitors 22, before throwing an audacious offload around the back to Ross Vintcent who was running the perfect support line to score under the sticks. For a moment Southworth seemed to hail from Suva and not Barnstable, phenomenal skills from the front-rower.
Vintcent claimed his hat-trick just before the hour mark. The Chiefs earned another penalty at the scrum, something of a theme throughout the Premiership Cup so far, with Will Haydon-Wood sending the kick into the corner.
From there it was all power, a nice line-out drill which raced towards the line at a rate of knots, allowed the number eight to dive over, putting the cherry on top of an impressive performance.
London Scottish weren’t going to go away quietly, claiming two tries of their own as they looked to exploit space on the wide outside. However, it was never enough to compete with Exeter who added two more scores before the final whistle to run out comfortable winners and continue their unbeaten record.
It has been a positive and productive Premiership Cup campaign for Rob Baxter and his troops, and this latest victory will only add fuel to the fires down here in Devon. There will certainly be stiffer tests to come, but this is a squad that is stacked full of talent all ready to fight for their place as the Premiership season looms on the horizon.
Chiefs: D John; I Feyi-Waboso, Z Wimbush, O Devoto (T Hendrickson 55), A Relton; W Haydon-Wood, N Armstrong (J Snow 55); D Southworth (J Kenny 48), M Norey (O Burrows 67), E P Schickerling (M Steet 48); M Postlethwaite, J Dunne (A Bell 52), A Davis, J Bailey, R Vintcent (R Tuima 67).
Replacements (not used): H Skinner
Tries: Vintcent (3), Armstrong, Relton, Snow, Burrows. Conversions: Haydon-Wood (6)
London Scottish: T Green; W Brown, H Hyde, B Waghorn, C Cleaves; A Lloyd-Seed, J Law; G Cave, J Musk, A Challenger; H Browne, J Green, B Ransom ©, W Trenholm, Z Carr
Replacements: A Wallis, T Osborne, R Charalambous, S Pill, L Barrett, S Kerins, R McCallum, C Anderson
Tries: Kerins, Brown.
Referee: H Walbaum