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London Welsh 25 Exeter Chiefs 24

16 Sep 2012
London Welsh 25 Exeter Chiefs 24

Ed Jackson’s late try gave Aviva Premiership new boys London Welsh their first ever win in the top flight as they came out on top 25-24 in a pulsating encounter against the Exeter Chiefs.

Having been given a harsh introduction to the Premiership by Leicester Tigers and Harlequins, more of the same looked on the cards for Welsh when the visitors scored two tries in the opening 11 minutes.

But having fought back to lead at half-time 15-14, the hosts again reined in the visitors in the closing stages with Seb Jewell’s conversion of No. 8 Jackson’s late score proving the difference.

The match brought the Arscott brothers in direct competition with Tom starting at full-back for the Exiles and Luke doing likewise for the Chiefs.

And it was first blood to Luke in the fifth minute when prop Brett Sturgess took a long pass following a break by Ian Whitten and quickly went right to Matt Jess.

Jess then quickly moved the ball outside to give Luke Arscott an easy run into the corner, with Ignacio Mieres converting impressively.

It didn’t take long for Exeter to score a second try as Sireli Naqelevuki stormed into his opponents’ 22 from his own half before laying it on a plate for Jess and Mieres kicked the extras.

But their lead was soon halved when a strong Welsh maul following a line-out was dragged down illegally just short of the line and referee Dave Pearson ran under the posts to award a penalty try.

The gap was then reduced to two points when Chris Whitehead’s pass was intercepted by Nick Scott, who ran 70 metres to score but Gordon Ross just missed his conversion from out wide.

After pushing an earlier attempt wide, the former Scotland fly-half then gave his side a 15-14 half-time lead three minutes before the break with a simple penalty.

But the Chiefs managed to restore their advantage ten minutes into the second half when Richard Baxter sneaked his way over the line from close range after several pick and drives.

Mieres converted before Ross reduced the deficit to three points with his second penalty but this was eventually cancelled out by replacement fly-half Gareth Steenson following a dominant Exeter scrum.

However, the Exiles were not to be denied and with two minutes left, Jackson plunged over the line from close range after a lot of pressure on the Chiefs’ line and Jewell did the rest.

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