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Exeter Chiefs 36 Harlequins 13

28 Sep 2014
Exeter Chiefs 36 Harlequins 13

Thomas Waldrom continued his fine scoring form to help Exeter Chiefs secure their third Aviva Premiership Rugby win of the season over Harlequins at Sandy Park.

The resurgent No.8 capped a sterling performance with his third try of the season, but the hosts fell narrowly short of a bonus point despite captain Jack Yeandle and Henry Slade also crossing.

Gareth Steenson added 15 points with Slade also landing two penalties as Exeter secured only their second home victory of 2014 and avenged their two losses against Quins last season.

The visitors trailed 19-6 at the break and appeared to be mounting a comeback with an Asaeli Tikoirotuma try but failed to capitalise on Jack Nowell’s yellow card as they fell to their second loss of the season.

Harlequins took the lead inside two minutes when the hosts were caught offside and fly-half Ben Botica, in again for the injured Nick Evans, duly converted his attempt.

Exeter levelled inside ten minutes when Quins were penalised at a scrum on half-way and Slade landed his attempt with an elegant strike.

The hosts showed their attacking endeavour by running at a scrambled Quins defence from deep, with Mike Brown eventually making a crucial tackle on Matt Jess before the visitors’ were ruled offside.

Slade deferred to Steenson for the resulting penalty with the fly-half continuing his impressive kicking form to give his side a 6-3 lead.

Waldrom then charged down Botica’s clearing kick before winning the race to collect and touch down, with Steenson adding the extras to give Chiefs a ten-point lead after 24 minutes.

Botica had a chance to reduce the deficit five minutes later when Exeter flanker Ben White was judged off his feet at the tackle but the fly-half struck his attempt against the post.

After referee Andrew Small had warned captain Joe Marler for ill-discipline, the Quins pack responded by winning a scrum against the head followed by a penalty that Botica squeezed over to make it 13-6.

Yet Slade restored his side’s ten-point advantage minutes later as Quins were whistled for holding on just inside their own half and the centre slotted another long-range effort.

Steenson again proved a perfect foil for Slade as he bisected the posts with another penalty attempt just before half-time to make it 19-6 to the hosts at the break.

Quins trailed 16-5 at the interval in the same fixture in May before storming to a 30-29 bonus-point victory to complete the double over the Chiefs last season.

The visitors started brightly as Botica smartly slipped the ball round a tackle to release Marland Yarde who found Brown with the Quins full-back touching down after exchanging passes with Tikoirotuma.

Brown’s effort was disallowed after the TMO ruled the return pass had crept forward yet the visitors soon scored after they secured a lineout five metres out and Botica sent Tikoirotuma over from close range.

The fly-half converted to cut the gap to six points only for a resurgent Chiefs scrum to win a penalty that Steenson duly landed to make it 22-13 before Slade miscued his next attempt.

Nowell then crossed after colliding with Brown under a high ball but the England winger was sent to the bin after the TMO ruled he had not shown his duty of care.

Despite being a man down, the Chiefs increased their lead when Steenson’s cross-kick found Phil Dollman, making his season debut, who cut inside to send Yeandle over and Steenson converted.

The hosts scored their third as Tom James showed dazzling footwork moments after coming on to evade Quins’ attentions and fire a long pass out to Slade to cross with Steenson slotting his conversion.

The Chiefs went in search of a bonus-point try with Jess breaking free only for the Quins defence to recover as Small blew the final whistle.

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