James Short scored a hat-trick as Exeter Chiefs scored seven tries in a 48-32 victory over Worcester Warriors at Sixways to move level on points with Saracens.
After an even first half ended 18-17, the Chiefs scored tries from Olly Woodburn, Short and Sam Simmonds while Alafoti Faosiliva was in the sin bin.
Bryce Heem pulled one back but Michele Campagnaro scored the Chiefs’ sixth before Short sealed his hat-trick as they moved alongside Saracens into second in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.
Jackson Willison got a bonus point try for the Warriors in the final minute.
Warriors’ Josh Adams got the first try of the afternoon after good breaks from Francois Hougaard and Heem with Ryan Mills adding the conversion with just five minutes played.
Gareth Steenson brought the Chiefs level when he converted his own score just three minutes later following impressive carries from Short and Campagnaro.
Mills then put the Warriors 10-7 ahead with a long-range penalty and the hosts extended their lead after another break from Heem.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) February 18, 2017
The winger got Worcester deep inside the Chiefs’ 22 and eventually the ball was shipped wide to Humphreys who dotted down for a 15-7 lead.
Mills missed the conversion and the Chiefs made him pay when Short charged over the tryline for his first try with Steenson adding the extras.
The two fly-halves, Mills and Steenson, scored a further penalty each as the first half drew to a close with the Warriors 18-17 ahead at the break.
Warriors’ Alafoti Faosiliva was shown a yellow card after just four minutes of the second half and Exeter took full advantage as Woodburn found space to dot down after a Chiefs’ driving maul.
Got pay tribute to the awesome Travelling Tribe today, made themselves heard all day
— Exeter Chiefs (@ExeterChiefs) February 18, 2017
And the Chiefs’ one-man advantage saw them secure a try bonus point with 48 minutes on the clock after Simmonds broke into the 22 and Short found a gap to cross the whitewash.
With Steenson replaced by Ian Whitten, Slade added the extras and Chiefs’ were 29-18 ahead with half an hour still to play.
Simmonds was then part of an Exeter driving maul which drove over the line and with Slade’s conversion the Chiefs were 36-18 ahead.
The Warriors responded with a converted try from Heem but Campagnaro collected an offload from Slade for the Chiefs’ sixth try of the afternoon and the visitors led 43-25.
But what a finish from Warriors, who never said die, as they scored at the death to grab the try-bonus point!
— Worcester Warriors🏉 (@WorcsWarriors) February 18, 2017
Short had his hat-trick with just seven minutes remaining as he latched onto a super pass from Slade though the England international missed the conversion.
But the Warriors earned a point for their efforts in the final minute as Willison scored their fourth of the afternoon which Ryan Lamb successfully converted.