Wasps stung by O'Flaherty's efforts

flats wasps jmp.jpg
Exeter Chiefs winger Tom O'Flaherty glides away from the grasp of Wasps forward Nizaam Carr during Saturday's Gallagher Premiership clash at Sandy Park. Picture: www.jmpuk.com

By Mark Stevens

Winger Tom O'Flaherty insists Exeter Chiefs have proved the perfect response since being floored at the death by local rivals Bristol Bears in the Gallagher Premiership.

Having led 17-0 against their nearest and dearest, the Chiefs suffered a rare home setback as Pat Lam's side escaped Sandy Park with a 20-17 success in Round 4 of the competition.

It was a defeat which did not see pretty with Chiefs' Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, nor his players, who have since responded in emphatic style.

First, the Devonians brushed inflicted a first home defeat of the season on La Rochelle, winning 31-12 at the Stade Marcel Deflandre. After which, it was the turn of Glasgow Warriors to feel the full force of Baxter's men, going down 34-18 at Sandy Park.

Tom O'Flaherty looks to get away from the Wasps defence during Saturday's clash at Sandy Park

Those two victories ensured a dream start to Exeter's latest European campaign. However, Baxter was keen for more of the same from his side when they tackled Wasps in their latest Premiership battle.

True to form, the Chiefs did not disappoint, securing all five points in a polished performance, which saw them down Dai Young's visitors 38-3.

Helping to lead the way was O'Flaherty, who produced a man-of-the-match display, as the Chiefs moved to third in the standings come the end of the weekend.

O'Flaherty's sublime second half score not only secured the bonus point for the Chiefs, but won him rave reviews from coaches and pundits across the board, all of whom have been seriously impressed with the form of the former Ospreys and Bridgend Ravens flyer.

"It was a good team performance, we didn't give Wasps many ins into the game," he said. "Even when they had that sustained pressure on us towards at end of first half, we managed to keep them out."

Sure, the Chiefs looked pretty miserly in defence, but it was in attack where the home side were razor-sharp, O'Flaherty leading the way with stats of 145 metres made, 10 defenders beaten and four line breaks.

"I had a good platform to run off," added the modest 25-year-old post-game. "I could only really make line breaks!"

His form, though, has been impressive and even the man himself was humble enough to recognise it's been a strong start to the season.

"I was happy with my performance and I'm enjoying the season," he said. "Obviously it was good to get back to winning ways in the league. Three weeks'ago [against Bristol] we let ourselves down and we needed to find a response. Today, we were pretty relentless for the full 80 minutes.

"As I said, it was a good win and it's put us in a good place. Confidence is high amongst the boys again, so let's hope we can carry it on again this week and beyond."

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