Exeter made it third time lucky against Leicester as they outscored the visitors by five tries to two to go top of Pool Four in the LV= Cup following a 35-10 success at Sandy Park.
The home side had narrowly lost their two Aviva Premiership Rugby meetings against the Tigers but they had this game sewn-up by half time having scored four converted tries without reply to secure the a bonus point.
Chiefs boss Rob Baxter named only three of the players that featured in last weekend’s Amlin Challenge Cup tie in Montpellier while Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill picked a side dominated by Tigers Academy players, although Boris Stankovich and Dan Hipkiss made their first starts of 2011.
Exeter looked set to strike early as skipper Jason Shoemark broke in to the Tigers half before passing outside to fellow centre Bryan Rennie, but Tigers wing Lee Robinson bundled him into touch. Exeter finally broke the deadlock after another break from Rennie as a series of pick and drives saw lock Chad Slade score in the right corner with fly-half Gareth Steenson adding the extras.
The home side wasted no time increasing their hold on the game with wing Andrew Higgins and number eight James Phillips setting up a try for blindside flanker Dave Ewers with Steenson converting from out on the left.
Leicester continued to be pinned back into their own half and, when the Chiefs opted to take a scrum from a penalty, they fell further behind as the hosts worked the ball wide for hooker Neil Clark to cross after good work by Haydn Thomas, Steenson again converted. Thomas himself then crossed to give the Chiefs a commanding 28-0 half-time advantage.
Leicester finally got on to the scoreboard eight minutes into the second period after a break from scrum-half Sam Harrison put centre Hipkiss over the line, but 17-year-old fly-half George Ford was off target with the conversion. The Tigers were then reduced to 14 men as lock Ed Slater was yellow carded and the Chiefs took advantage of the extra man to score their fifth try through prop Ben Moon, converted by Steenson.
Leicester improved as the half progressed and began to pin the Chiefs back in to the own half forcing the home side to put in some big tackles and from a penalty kick to the left corner the Tigers were held-up over the line. But the visitors kept going and captain Stankovich got the game’s final try touchdown from a rolling maul.