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Exeter Chiefs 19 Harlequins 5

09 Nov 2013
Exeter Chiefs 19 Harlequins 5

Debutant Ceri Sweeney announced himself to Sandy Park with a 14-point haul in the LV= Cup as Exeter Chiefs made light work of defending champions Harlequins.

After an early Paul Sackey try, the ex-Wales international led the riposte for Exeter through his kicking before centre Sireli Naqelevuki stormed through in the second half.

Exeter conceded four penalties in the first four minutes as Harlequins assumed a strong field position, allowing Charlie Walker to feed through former England wing Sackey for the try.

Ben Botica could not convert and Chiefs responded almost immediately through a Sweeney penalty – given the captaincy on his first-team debut – after full-back Luke Arscott’s storming break had breached Quins’ 22.

An injury then forced England U20 skipper Jack Clifford off as the visitors were pinned down once more, Exeter pressure from a lineout eventually handing Sweeney the opportunity to make it two kicks out of two.

A combination of Chiefs young guns Arscott, Jack Arnott, and Jack Nowell continued to wreak havoc but Quins were holding firm against their opposite pack.

The hosts were proving sloppy at the breakdown and if not for a crushing tackle from the impressive Arscott, Walker would have transformed a turnover into a certain try.

And with half-time closing in the Chiefs failed to extend their one-point advantage as debutant Romana Graham threw a forward pass at the last to an open Sweeney.

After the break Exeter were building a head of steam through the scrum and another penalty saw Sweeney pound the ball through the posts once more.

The cup-holders began to rack up the penalty count and were let off after a call for obstruction, as Sweeney failed to keep up his 100 per cent kicking record with a difficult effort.

However, the Welsh fly-half made no mistake moments later when Quins were penalised for blocking in front of the posts following a nifty side-step and break from Henry Slade.

Then Exeter afforded themselves real breathing space in the form of wrecking ball Naqelevuki, who dragged several Quins players over the line with him to finish a well-worked move from a lineout.

The dead-eye Sweeney kicked the extras but before long the LV= Cup champions starved the Chiefs of possession as they looked to mount an unlikely comeback.

But Quins came no closer to adding to their first half score as the hosts eased to a comfortable victory.

Be part of the rugby family at the LV=Cup Final at Sandy Park, Exeter on 16 March. Tickets now available at www.ticketmaster.co.uk

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