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Match Reaction: Exeter Chiefs 19 Gloucester Rugby 10

It may not have been the prettiest game Exeter Chiefs have won this season but backs coach Ali Hepher insists only the result mattered as his side kept their superb home record intact.

Thomas Waldrom barrelled over twice in the space of four minutes and, allied to a further first-half try through Olly Woodburn, Chiefs were more or less out of sight by half-time.

Gloucester, the last victors at Sandy Park on January 3 2015, got off the mark through a Greig Laidlaw penalty in the 45th minute and snatched a glimmer of hope when Charlie Sharples crossed ten minutes before full-time.

But Exeter saw the game out 19-10 to record their seventh Aviva Premiership Rugby win of the season, though Hepher concedes the fitness of Jack Nowell is a worry to take away.

“At the start of the day we would have taken four points,” said Hepher. “To not concede a losing bonus point is obviously important.

“It was one of those days when you just have to battle through it and not having the ball was the best option. We showed good enthusiasm and intent to battle away and got our tries off our defensive work.

“We played pretty well with the conditions and all in all we are really pleased. This sets up nicely for the two-week break in the Premiership.

“(Nowell suffered) a bit of a twist of his knee. Unfortunately he has got twisted between two bodies and had to come off so we will wait and see.

“You don’t know with these knee injuries and sometimes the least painful ones can be the longest out. So we will obviously get him assessed in the week.”

It has so far been a season of ups and downs for Gloucester – and director of rugby David Humphreys admits his side were architects of their own downfall here.

"The consensus was to play into the wind in the first half,” he said. "It was disappointing from our perspective to concede two tries in the first ten minutes and three tries in the first 20 minutes, all of  which came from our mistakes.

"That was the disappointing aspect of the game but credit to Exeter. Both teams tried to play rugby in horrific conditions.

"It was about the team that made the least mistakes and today the mistakes were key. Against a team as good as Exeter, to be 19-0 down is a long way back. 

"But we showed great character and we played good rugby because they defend well. “
 
Exeter Chiefs: Dollman; Woodburn, Nowell (Champagnaro, 72), Whitten, Short; Steenson, Chudley; Hepburn (Moon, 56), Yeandle (Taione, 73), Francis (Low, 26-34, 65), Atkins (Hil, 69), Parling, Armand, Salvi, Waldrom (Horstmann, 70)
Not used: Lewis, Hooley
Gloucester: Cook; Sharples, Meakes, Twelvetrees (Atkinson, 65), Purdy (Lindsay, 68); Hook (Burns, 63), Laidlow (Heinz, 65); Wood (McAllister, 50), Hibbard, Thomas (Murphy, 57), Savage (Galarza, 60), Thrush, Kalamafoni, Kvesic, Morgan (Moriarty, 41)
 
Exeter Chiefs 19 Gloucester Rugby 10

Exeter
Tries: Waldrom 2, Woodburn
Conversions: Steenson 2

Gloucester
Tries: Sharples
Conversions: Burns
Penalties: Laidlaw

Attendance: 12,604
Referee: Ian Tempest

Boxing Day Sale! Click here to grab a bargain with 20% off tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on 28 May at Twickenham.
 
 

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