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Match reaction: Harlequins 21 Exeter Chiefs 32

Match reaction: Harlequins 21 Exeter Chiefs 32

Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter declared that Henry Slade could soon have the most complete package of any young back in England after his 27-point haul at Harlequins.

The 21-year-old hit six penalties, two conversions and even grabbed a try as he propelled Exeter into the playoff places.

Ben White also crossed for the Chiefs who now only sit behind third-placed Saracens on points difference.

And Baxter certainly believes his midfield star will soon be knocking on Stuart Lancaster’s door.

“Slade is up against some very good players in the England set-up but he looks like the guy who is going to have the most complete package in the future,” he said.

“He is playing very, very well. He kicked very maturely today, both at the posts and for field-position.

“Everyone knows he is a very good and strong defender and today he showed some real attacking quality as well. Ball in hand he glided in for his try, he almost looked untouchable.

“He has got some fantastic attributes and that midfield of Slade, Sam Hill and Jack Nowell looks a very good set-up.

“Henry is getting the plaudits he deserves with the other guys around him.”

Conor O’Shea, Harlequins’ director of rugby, cut a frustrated figure after Quins’ fifth defeat in six, bemoaning his side’s lack of luck.

Quins started brightly and led 8-0 early on thanks to a try from Nick Evans while Phil Dollman and Ian Whitten were in the sin-bin.

Matt Hopper also scored in the second half and Evans hit 11 other points but it was not enough for a losing bonus point – Quins are now 10 points adrift of a playoff berth.

“There is no hiding place at the moment, it is not where we want to be as a club but I would not ever question the players today. When you are searching, like we are, for something you can push a bit too hard,” said O’Shea.

“I will always credit the opposition for what they did in terms of their work ethic but we had so much possession, so much intensity and intent but just could not get across the whitewash.

“You look at the respective charge-downs, one bounces up to their player and we charge it down and it does not bobble up. That’s the way it seems to be going at the moment.”

Harlequins: Monye (Lindsay-Hague, 55); Yarde, Hopper, Casson (Botica 51), Walker; Evans, Care (Dickson 69); Lambert, Ward, Sinckler, Matthews (Talei 51), Robson, Clifford, Wallace (Trayfoot 69), Easter
 
Replacements not used: Buchanan, Marfo, Shields
 
Exeter Chiefs: Dollman (McGuigan 47); Whitten, Nowell, Hill, Jess; Slade, Chudley (Lewis 69); Moon (Rimmer 41), Cowan-Dickie (Yeandle, 57), Francis (Brown 69), Mumm, Welch (Lees, 65), Ewers, White, Waldrom
 
Replacements not used: Steenson
 
Scorers   
 
Harlequins
Tries: Evans, Hopper
Conversions: Evans
Penalties:  Evans 3

Exeter Chiefs
Tries: White, Slade
Conversions: Slade 2
Penalties:  Slade 6

Referee: Matthew Carley

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