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Match Report: Gloucester Rugby 28 Exeter Chiefs 21

01 Sep 2017
Match Report: Gloucester Rugby 28 Exeter Chiefs 21

Exeter Chiefs were given a taste of what to expect as defending Aviva Premiership Rugby champions as they went down to an inspired Gloucester Rugby side 28-21 in a pulsating opener at Kingsholm.

After dominating early, the champions found themselves pegged back by former Lions coach Johan Ackermann’s side, with Ben Morgan’s try handing Gloucester the lead, only for Olly Woodburn and Henry Slade to combine to tie things up.

However with time up on the clock Gloucester powered into the 22 before sending debutant Jason Woodward over in the corner as Kingsholm erupted, Billy Twelvetrees adding the extras for good measure.

It was a pair of forwards who stole the show in the first half, Gloucester second row Jeremy Thrush twice responding to tries from Exeter No.8 Sam Simmonds.

The champions needed just five minutes to open their account, Simmonds on the end of a sweeping move that began with Max Bodilly slicing through on the left.

Gloucester had barely touched the ball in the first quarter but they hit back from close range through Thrush, only for Simmonds to cross again, this time doing it all himself as he showed both pace and power to step his way through.

The home side responded once again on the stroke of half-time, Thrush threading his arm through a ruck to dot down and making 14 apiece at the break.

Gloucester couldn’t take advantage of Gareth Steenson’s sin-binning for a dangerous tackle in the air a minute into the second half, but took the lead through Morgan when he reacted quickest to a loose ball on the Chiefs line.

However with ten minutes to go Exeter were similarly clinical, Woodburn pinching the ball off Ollie Thorley on the 22 and racing over, with Slade adding the touchline conversion to level it.

But Slade was off-target with a chance to win it two minutes from time before Woodward’s late intervention.