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London Welsh 0 Exeter Chiefs 52

07 Sep 2014
London Welsh 0 Exeter Chiefs 52

Thomas Waldrom had a debut to remember with two tries as Exeter Chiefs romped to a bonus-point win over Aviva Premiership new boys London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium.

Waldrom had two tries by the interval and it only got worse for the Exiles after the break as Dave Ewers, Sam Hill, Ian Whitten and debutants Jack Arnott and Chrysander Botha all crossed as well.

It was always going to be a tough start for Justin Burnell’s Welsh side who brought in more than 25 new faces over the summer and gave debuts to nine of them on Sunday including World Cup winner Piri Weepu.

But they were put to the sword in clinical fashion by Rob Baxter’s Chiefs who ran in seven tries in all to make a dream start to the new campaign.

It was the Exiles that started the brighter, showing ambition with ball in hand and almost creating the first try of the game when Olly Barkley’s kick to the corner was collected by Nick Scott but the winger’s pass back inside was well intercepted by Matt Jess and the Chiefs survived.

And moments later the visitors were ruthless up the other end, fantastic offloading creating the space for Gareth Steenson who burst clear and fed new boy Waldrom for the first try of the game.

The fly-half then added the extras and despite being under the cosh for the majority of the first ten minutes, the Chiefs were 7-0 to the good.

Rather than settle down however, the game remained extremely open with both sides exhibiting an impressive offloading game in the sunshine.

The Chiefs were showing no fear in running the ball from deep and just before the half-hour mark they had their second try, Waldrom again the beneficiary this time in the left-hand corner but Steenson again added the conversion.

Before half-time Welsh needed a foothold but Barkley pushed two fairly regulation penalty attempts wide and to make matters worse Henry Slade then smashed one over for the visitors from halfway as they led 17-0 at the break.

After the interval it did not take long for the Chiefs to wrap up the bonus point, Ewers the next to go over with a short-range burst for the line as the Welsh defence began to crumble.

As early as the 51st minute the Chiefs had ensured the full five-point haul as the impressive Hill showed fine all-round skills to rip and steal the ball before striding clear for a 25m run in.

Steenson was never going to miss that conversion and with nearly a full half hour to go the Chiefs were home and hosed at 31-0.

Welsh then came close to getting their first points on the board but Seb Stegmann was collared just short of the line down the right and the chance was lost.

The Chiefs had their fifth before the hour mark and it wasn’t pretty viewing for Burnell as Whitten came in off his right wing, shrugged off two would-be tacklers and dived over.

Moments later and Arnott, only off the bench ten seconds earlier for his Aviva Premiership debut, collected Will Chudley’s box kick and burst clear for the sixth try.

Jess was then denied a seventh try for the visitors by the TMO but Botha made amends moment later with a scything break on debut to bring up the half century of points.

And Exiles finished the game down to 14 men as Pablo Henn saw yellow for an illegal tackle, Ben White followed the Argentine into the bin but Welsh could not find a way through and were held scoreless to cap a tough first day back in the top flight.

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