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Match Reaction: Exeter Chiefs 62 Cardiff Blues 25

Exeter Chiefs skills coach Ricky Pellow could not hide his delight after watching his side put ten tries on the Cardiff Blues to kick start their Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign.

After defeat in their tournament opener last weekend against Harlequins, the hosts came out firing at Sandy Park on Sunday and had five tries before the interval.

James Sheekey crossed for the Blues early on but that proved to be something of a false dawn as Shaun Malton, a penalty try, Michele Campagnaro, Damian Welch and Sam Simmonds all went over in the first half at Sandy Park.

Click here for the latest fixtures and results from the Anglo-Welsh Cup

Rob Baxter’s side led 31-10 at the interval and in the second period continued to pile on the points as Tom Hendrickson, Stuart Townsend, Tom Johnson, Jack Innard and Tom Lawday all went over.

The Blues got a four-try bonus point of their own however thanks to James Beale and Rhun Williams’ double but the Chiefs were too strong – much to Pellow’s delight.

“It was really pleasing, the guys fought really hard,” he said.

“We had a period in the game where Cardiff kept coming back and putting us under pressure.

“But we managed to rip the game away from them and we are really pleased with how the guys stuck at it, the physicality we showed to get a stranglehold on the game.

“We talked about being brave and playing rugby but it has got to be based around good decisions and we tried to run it when it wasn’t on and put us under pressure.

“But we came through that period, learned from it and got stronger as game went on.”

“Rob talked about our defence and we created a lot of opportunities with our offloading.

“It got a bit scrappy but we managed to get it back at the end.”

Click here for the latest Anglo-Welsh Cup tables and an explanation of the format of the tournament

The Chiefs had some experienced players in the side like internationals Johnson and Campagnaro while the Blues were at an average age of only 20.

And their youthful exuberance strayed into naivety at times, even though they did score four tries of their own.

And Richard Hodges admitted afterwards that his side had learned a few painful lessons.

“It was a very tough afternoon wasn’t it? We started the game extremely well but yellow cards killed us,” he said.

“We leaked a lot of points, it’s a tough learning environment but it’s a very young group with a young average age and it’s about how quickly we can learn these lessons to turn us into a combative force for Friday night against the Ospreys.

“The naivety of youth but we all need to have a good look at ourselves and work out where we can improve.

“We had a good period in the second half with ball in hand, Ben Jones at half-back is still in school so it was big learning curve but I thought he did some good. There is a lot of work to do.

“We have a couple of days off, hopefully have a couple of senior boys come back into the group to give us a bit more leadership, batten down the hatches and get better defensively because we look quite good when we have the ball.”

 

Exeter Chiefs: Dollman, Bodilly, Campagnaro, Hendrickson, Whitten, J Simmonds, Chudley, Keast, Malton, Owlett, Atkins, Welch, White, S Simmonds, Johnson
Replacements: Innard, Norton, Street, Caulfield, Lawday, Townsend, Skinner, Strong

 

Cardiff Blues: Williams, Summerhill, Millard, Smith, Beale, Evans, Blackler, Thyer, Myhill, Lewis, Davies, Down, S Davies, Lewis-Hughes, Sheekey
Replacements: Belcher, Carre, Peikrishvili, Barnes, Sieniawski, R Davies, Jones, Lane

 

Exeter Chiefs
Tries: Malton, penalty, Campagnaro, Welch, S Simmonds, Hendrickson, Townsend, Johnson, Innard, Lawday
Conversions: J Simmonds 6

Cardiff Blues
Tries: Sheekey, Beale, Williams 2
Conversion: Evans
Penalty: Evans

Referee: Luke Pearce
Attendance: 9,595

The second round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup kicks off this weekend. For full details of the tournament and tickets for the Final at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday 19 March see www.new-heroes.com

 

 

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