Radio Exe Match Report: Exeter Chiefs 43 – 21 University of Exeter

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A Monday night crowd were treated to a ten-try game at Sandy Park as an Exeter Chiefs side came out on top of the University of Exeter in an entertaining friendly match.

The experience in the opening stages saw the Chiefs on the board first. Not quite reminiscent of his lamping dart into the 22 for a try against Munster in the Investec Champions Cup, lock Jack Dunne was the first man over the whitewash.

A carry from the evening’s captain Max Norey got Chiefs to within a couple of metres. The forwards recycled ball well, opening the gap for the Irishman, Dunne, in the corner.

The second try was one more of flare. An energetic Chiefs’ defence, coming up to meet every carry from the University men, nabbed an opportunity on their own ten metre line. Noah Fenton received the popped ball, streaking in from his own half to dot down underneath the posts, making the conversion a simple one for Iwan Jenkins.

Just 48 hours on from his first ever Chiefs try against Glasgow Warriors, Zack Wimbush carved a lovely line through the University’s defence to come onto the feed from his scrum half Joe Snow at pace. The tall and ranging back the dotted down just to the left of the posts, allowing Jenkins to cut a lovely angle with his conversion kick to put the home side 19-0 up.

The bonus point try came within the half-hour for the Chiefs men. Lining up in a diamond formation off the back of the scrum set, the Chiefs back pulled a move straight off the training paddock.

Wimbush took the ball from Snow. Feeding Toby Clinch for the line break before taking the pass back inside, the speedy Wimbush put the final pass floating out to Fenton who ran in his brace score. The conversion from five metres in from the touchline drifted just wide of the uprights for Jenkins.

Having been threatening the Chiefs defence for a solid five minutes following that score, the University men secured their first points before the break. Hugo Ellerby broke from the ten-metre line, bringing Charlie McCaig into the play. Having drawn in the last defenders, the centre gave the pass to Benjy Joseland to finish the score underneath the posts. McCaig then converted the score he had assisted.

Half-time: Chiefs 24 – 7 Uni of Exeter

Chiefs started the second half by flying down the wing through Wimbush right up to the University five metre line. Three key men for the University side this evening – their back row of Lucas Dorrell, Jack Forsythe and Seb Driscoll – proving key to overturning the ball to clear the pressure.

Fenton showed his class on 45 minutes as he soared down the wing, twinkle-toe-stepping his way around the last defenders to spin over the line for his hat-trick score. Some shuffling in the back line following the early withdrawal of Jenkins from the field meant Snow stepped up to take the conversion – splitting the uprights perfectly for the extra two points.

The university were not content to fade away in the encounter. Producing something seemingly out of nothing, Kofi Barton-Byfield backed his pace, footwork and handling to stay tight to the corner flag for the try. McCaig then curved the conversion round from the touchline nicely for the extra points.

Unclean handling cost the university not long from the restart as a ball out the back didn’t connect with the man and Frankie Nowell, with his shock of bleached blonde hair, scooped the ball from the turf for the short run into the line to secure the Chiefs’ sixth try.

A scrum penalty cost Chiefs in the later stages of the game. Tapping it quickly, Will Smears backed himself to run the ball into the line. Catching the retreating Chiefs napping, the replacement scrum half was able to secure the score which McCaig was able to convert.

Not be outdone, Chiefs were able to add another converted try to their scoresheet before the night was through. Hallam Chapman – having enjoyed a combative night in defence and with a number of charging carries to his name – crashed over tight to the corner in front of the West Stand filled with just over 3,000 people.

Replacement Matt Bond then curled the conversion seamlessly from the touchline to top-up the full-time scoreline to 43-21 in the Chiefs’ favour.

An extremely entertaining night in the cold Monday conditions, with a number of players – in Chiefs and University colours – putting their hands up for future opportunities in the Chiefs set-up.

Full-time: Chiefs 43 – 21 Uni of Exeter

Chiefs: A Relton; P Brown (Clinch 5’), F Nowell, Z Wimbush (Sellick 59’), N Fenton (Bond 72’); I Jenkins (Howard 30’, Watts 72’), J Snow; D Southworth (Johnson 59’), M Norey (c) (Hocking 59’), M Street (Schickerling 49’), J Dunne, E O’Connor (Worley-Brady 40’), M Postlethwaite, H Chapman (Rolls 77’), K James (Moody 66’).

Tries: Dunne, Fenton 3, Wimbush, Nowell, Chapman Conversions: I Jenkins 2, Snow, Bond

Uni of Exeter: B Joseland; K Barton-Byfield, C McCaig, C Ribbons (Mignot 69’), H Ellerby (Gentry 61’); L Mignot (Coen 50’), J Murray (Smears 54’); J Williams (Freeman 61’), L Gulley (Vajner 61’), T Gulley (Ando 61’), J Cunningham, A Bell, L Dorrell (c), J Forsythe (C Bell 66’), S Driscoll (Brooke 52’).

Tries: Joseland, Barton-Byfield, Smears Conversions: McCaig 3

Referee: Hamish Grant

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