WARRIORS were sunk by a burst of three tries in eight minutes either side of half-time from rampant Exeter.
Warriors were only 14 points down in what had been an evenly contested first-half but they gave away two penalties in first half injury-time which enabled Exeter to turn defence into attack and they sent wing Facunda Cordero over for the first of two tries.
Cordero went over again within three minutes of the re-start and when Sam Simmonds, back from British and Irish Lions duty, scored his second five minutes later, the match was as good as over as a contest.
Warriors kept battling to the end and denied Exeter another try until the 75th minute but there were only 90 seconds left on the clock before Warriors’ persistence was eventually rewarded when lock Justin Clegg crossed from close range for a consolation try.
In the end the match was decided by discipline and taking opportunities. Warriors were ambitious and enterprising in attack and opened up Exeter’s defence on several occasions in the first 30 minutes , notably when Jamie Shillcock snaffled a loose ball and raced 40 metres, but could not convert those promising positions into points.
In contrast, Exeter were clinical whenever they got a sniff of the line. Dave Ewers drove over from a lineout catch-and-drive for the opening try midway through the first half and Sam Simmonds repeated the dose in similar circumstances 11 minutes later.
Warriors had an excellent opportunity to score in first half injury time when Shillcock kicked a penalty to the corner, Andrew Kitchener won the lineout and the pack tried to maul their way over.
But Exeter checked the drive, Warriors were penalised for offside, Henry Slade kicked the penalty to the 10m line where Warriors were pinged again at the maul.
This time Slade found touch on Warriors’ 22 from which they unleashed their three-quarters and sent right wing Facundo Cordero over for what proved to be a hammer blow try.
The scenario was similar to the one Warriors faced at Harlequins two weeks ago when a storming second half performance secured two bonus points.
But any thoughts of a repeat were soon dashed as Cordero for the bonus point try crossed and Simmonds powered over with Henry Slade made it five conversions from five before he was replaced.
The next 25 minutes were about Warriors’ graft in defence and occasional half-chance in attack. Exeter were also error-prone with ball in hand but they again capitalised when pressure forced Warriors into conceding penalties under pressure and Joe Simmonds squirmed over.
Clegg’s try, the third of his career and second in the Premiership, rounded off an industrious afternoon for the lock but the muted celebrations told the story of the match.
Warriors | 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Noah Heward (Doel 52), 13 Oli Morris, 12 Ollie Lawrence, 11 Duhan van der Merwe (Butler 66), 10 Billy Searle, 9 Willi Heinz (CC) (Chudley 50), 1 Rory Sutherland (Waller 52), 2 Scott Baldwin (CC) (Annett 78), 3 Christian Judge (Tyack 56), 4 Andrew Kitchener, 5 Justin Clegg, 6 Kyle Hatherell (Lewis 28), 7 Matt Kvesic, 8 Sione Vailanu (Batley 50).
Replacements | 16 Niall Annett, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Jay Tyack, 19 Joe Batley, 20 Sam Lewis, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Will Butler, 23 Harri Doel.