Radio Exe Match Report: Exeter Chiefs 63 – 7 Royal Navy

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It was an enjoyable night underneath the floodlights at Sandy Park for Exeter Chiefs as they defeated the Royal Navy 63-7 in a mid-week friendly.

Chiefs dominance at set piece was evident throughout the encounter while a back-line made up of promising young players showed flare and finesse in equal measure.

The Exeter men opened the night’s scoring within ten minutes played. Working with possession in the Royal Navy 22, hooker Dan Frost got his hands on the ball within close range and he had no issues trotting in underneath the posts for the try. Iwan Jenkins then secured his first conversion of the night.

The opposition levelled the playing field with a try of their own five minutes later. A hot-footed break from winger Ben Chambers put the Royal Navy on the front foot with ball to play with. Chambers offloaded to his fullback Craig Duncan running the supporting line to complete the score which Jordan Gott converted.

Joe Hawkins, on a return from injury and a ban following a red card against Bayonne, showed his class in scoring the Chiefs’ second try. The Welshman received quick ball and carved a clean angle through the Royal Navy defence for the score. It was another clean conversion from Jenkins to take the Chiefs back in front, 14-7.

Hawkins was involved again on 20 minutes played. Being brought to ground from a line break, he popped ball up to Frost from his prone position on the ground. His hooker in turn flicked a basketball style pass over his head to find Will Becconsall on his shoulder. The scrum half secured the try as his half-back partner Jenkins then slotted the conversion.

The bonus point was in the bag for the Chiefs within 23 minutes. Eoin O’Connor turned over the ball on the edge of the Royal Navy 22, Hallam Chapman carried further into opposition territory and, working with quick hands, got the ball offloaded to captain Matt Postlethwaite for the short run-in. Jenkins then converted his fourth of the night.

A fifth score came before the first half drew to a close. A storming carry from loosehead prop Patrick Schickerling got the Chiefs on the front-foot as they went to the short, sharp phases looking to creep their way towards the line. The patience paid off as Postlethwaite scored his second and Jenkins’ conversion ended the first half.

Half-time: Chiefs 35 – 7 Royal Navy

Chiefs were straight back into their attacking stride at the outset of the second half. An extremely dominant pack performance at the scrum stole the Navy ball. Chapman controlled the ball with his boot until he saw the blades of grass turn white at the line where he crashed down on it for the try. Jenkins conversion took the score to 42-7.

Minutes later, fellow back rower Christ Tshiunza wrote his name onto the score sheet. A pick and go from the base of the ruck by Schickerling saw the prop darting into space and beginning to gather speed. With an onrushing Royal Navy defender zeroing in on him, the front-rower flicked a pass out to the Welshman to ensure the try was scored. Jenkins then dutifully added the extra points.

Shortly following the hour mark the Chiefs broke the 50 point barrier. Great feet from Jed Findlay saw the Chiefs U18 stalwart cut off of his left foot to jink back inside his opposition. Wrapped up in contact near the line, the fullback stretched a long arm out to dot down the try. Freddie Hirst, his Academy teammate, then kicked the conversion, 56-7.

And in a rather fitting turn of events, given his monstrous performance, Chapman was the scorer of the last Chiefs try of the match. Working with recycled ball in close proximity to the line, the local lad bolstered his way through the litter of bodies to score his second and the Chiefs’ ninth of the night. Hirsts’ second conversion sealed the score 63-7 in the home side’s favour.

Full-time: Chiefs 63 – 7 Royal Navy

Chiefs: J Findlay; P Brown, J Hawkins (Brano 40’), I Akinrowo, R Williams; I Jenkins (Hirst 57’), W Becconsall (Howard 40’); P Schickerling (Ando 68’), D Frost (Tshiunza 36’, Warren 53’), M Street (Keast 32’, Dowse 74’), E O’Connor (Harris 37’), M Postlethwaite (Morris 74’), C Tshiunza (Innard 27’), R Capstick (O’Connor 47’, Rolls 76'), H Chapman (Dingle 74’).

Tries: Frost, Hawkins, Becconsall, Postlethwaite 2, Chapman 2, Tshiunza, Findlay Conversions: Jenkins 7, Hirst 2

Yellow card: Tshiunza, O’Connor

Royal Navy: C Duncan; B Chambers, S Raumakita, J Lowe, K Teear-Bourge; J Gott, W Rigelsford; K Beasley, J Wright, D Cleverley, D Maccadams, W Scott, AJ Hussell, B Mallett, C Mills.

Replacements: Evans, Lindsay, Wright, Scott, Roxby, Toogood, Rutter, King, Ryder, Hall.

Tries: Duncan Conversions: Grott

Referee: Ben Wood

Attendance: 3,408

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