Radio Exe Match Report: Gloucester 17 – 38 Exeter Chiefs

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A bonus point win at Kingsholm on Sunday afternoon means Exeter Chiefs maintain a chance at securing a top-four berth in a highly competitive run-in to the end of the Gallagher Premiership season.

Chiefs started the game with real momentum as the likes of Greg Fisilau and Jacques Vermeulen – the eventual man of the match – took on confronting carries from minute one. Henry Slade ensured the Exeter men were the first on the scoresheet when he took a shot at goal with six minutes played when Ruan Ackermann was penalised at the breakdown.

The first try of the day was also to be Chiefs’. Vermeulen thumped the ball into the air with a roar when he crossed the whitewash on 15 minutes after a trademark tap-and-go from Chiefs following a penalty against Gloucester for collapsing the driving maul. Slade curled the conversion around nicely to split the uprights.

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso broke the gain-line with a carry from the restart to build the momentum for Chiefs’ second. A dominant scrum in their own half provided the platform for Slade to break and tear downfield. A nice piece of interplay with Dan John put the young full-back in for the try which Slade converted.

As the clock ticked past the half hour, the hosts got themselves on the board. Olly Woodburn went for an intercept, unfortunately for Chiefs his efforts left a gap for Ollie Thorley to recover ball and run into. A couple of quick offloads fed ball out to the wing for Jonny May who crossed in the corner.

A pass off the shoulder from Joe Hawkins released Woodburn into the Gloucester 22 minutes later. Having recycled ball, Feyi-Waboso rode a tackle to stretch for the line, but the ball was knocked out of his one-handed grasp. Regardless, the play showed the intent of Baxter’s men in their want to play attacking rugby.

They had a third before the half was out as the veterans – Slade and Woodburn – combined well. The centre made the initial break, spotting his winger running a pacey supporting line in the wide channel. Woodburn took the pass and, despite a tackle on the line, grounded the ball by the corner flag. Another clean kick from Slade added the extra two.

Gloucester had the last word of the half. On the attack on the edge of the Chiefs 22 with the clock in the red, flanker Jack Clement spotted a gap, galloping through it and in for the try.

Half-time: Gloucester 10 – 24 Chiefs

Weathering an early attacking phase from the cherry and whites, Chiefs proved the break had not stolen any of their momentum as they scored their bonus point-securing try just eight minutes into the second half. A perfect read of the defence from Harvey Skinner saw the fly-half put a spin pass wide to Feyi-Waboso on the wing for an easy run-in. Slade’s conversion curled nicely through the posts.

Gloucester scored in an almost immediate response as Arthur Clark charged down Tom Cairns in the Chiefs’ 22, striding down upon the ball to recover and score. Charlie Atkinson converted the score for what would be Gloucester’s last points of the day.

On the hour mark, Vermeulen battered over for his second try of the day. Dogged work from Cairns and Woodburn as they charged down upon a sole Gloucester defender put the Chiefs within range before a penalty at the ruck and a quick tap-and-go put the South African back-rower over the line. Slade kept his confidence at the tee to convert the score.

Gloucester tried, albeit in vain, for the remaining quarter to add to their score. Breaks from May and Harris looked promising as they brought ‘The Shed’ to life but ultimately, they were to come to nothing.

Possession volleyed between the two sides as the hosts struggled to get a foothold on the game in its closing stages as penalties hampered their attacking phases and Chiefs stood tall defensively.

And so, it was Baxter’s men who took the winning points back home to Devon with them.

Full-time: Gloucester 17 – 38 Chiefs

Gloucester: J Morris; J May, C Harris, M Llewellyn (Hillam-Cooper 50’), O Thorley; C Atkinson (Englefield 61’), S Varney (Chapman 61’); J Ford-Robinson (Vivas 40’), S Blake (Socino 40’), K Gotovtsev (Knight 40’), F Clarke (Thomas 57’), A Clark, R Ackermann (Ludlow 61’), J Clement, Z Mercer.

Tries: May, Clement, Clark Conversions: Atkinson

Chiefs: D John (Haydon-Wood 40’); I Feyi-Waboso, H Slade, J Hawkins (Wimbush 75’), O Woodburn; H Skinner, T Cairns (Armstrong 60’); S Sio (Southworth 61’), J Yeandle (Norey 61’), M Street (Painter 61’), J Dunne (Tshiunza 60’), D Jenkins, E Roots (Vintcent 76’), J Vermeulen, G Fisilau.

Tries: Vermeulen 2, John, Woodburn, Feyi-Waboso Conversions: Slade 5 Penalties: Slade

Referee: Christophe Ridley

Attendance: 11,726

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