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16th Jun, 2021

Chiefs emerge on top on filthy Devon afternoon

Rob George 9th May, 2021

FILTHY weather shaped a game of two halves as Warriors’ first half enterprise was overcome by the power of Exeter’s pack after the break.

With a gusting downfield wind and driving rain throughout the match was always going to be decided by the side who copes best with the elements and, for 40 minutes, Warriors were the equal of the Gallagher Premiership and European champions.

A well-worked try from Francois Venter and two accurate kicks from Jamie Shillcock gave Warriors a ten points lead after 19 minutes.

But a breakaway try from Henry Slade and a penalty from Joe Simmonds meant that Warriors turned around with only a two points advantage.

Once Exeter’s pack got to work with the elements in their favour it became a hard slog for Warriors with three tries in a 16 minute period in the third quarter.

Warriors still had the chance of securing at least a losing bonus point but Venter was denied a second try when he was held up over the line and the loss of Sam Lewis then GJ van Velze to the sin-bin ended those hopes.

Exeter capitalised while Warriors were down to 14 men with Stu Townsend then Jacques Vermeulen burrowing over from close range to give a final scoreline that slightly flattered the champions.

Warriors lost Nick Schonert with an Achilles tendon injury before half-time but there was an industrious debut for former Jersey Reds back row Kyle Hatherell who worked hard in defence in his time on the pitch.

Shillcock and Fin Smith also kicked well in the first half to keep Exeter on the retreat but,m into the wind, it was much more difficult for them to relieve pressure after the break.

Shillcock was also impressive off the tee and he put Warriors ahead after six minutes when he banged over a penalty from halfway.

A long kick from Shillcock, which he and Alex Hearle chased down, set up the attack from which skipper Ted Hill popped the scoring pass to Venter and Shillcock added the conversion from near touch.

It was against the run of play the Slade scored, hacking through and following up, and superb defence continued to rattle Exeter.

But a scrum penalty, after a clearance kick from Smith unluckily caught the wind and ran dead, gave Joe Simmonds the chance to reduce the deficit.

Exeter went ahead six minutes into the second half when Dave Ewers went over and Sam Simmonds celebrated his British and Irish Lions selection with a brace of tries that took him to 16 for the season, a Premiership record for a forward.

Simmonds was substituted after his second try but despite some promising attacks Warriors could not find a way through for what would have been a deserved consolation try.

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