Match Reaction: Exeter Chiefs 40-6 Leicester Tigers
Exeter Chiefs turned on the style with a six-try win against Leicester Tigers at Sandy Park to ignite their Gallagher Premiership Rugby campaign.
George Ford kicked the away side in front with two penalties but that was as good as it got for the Tigers, with Exeter quickly turning on the style.
Tries from Olly Woodburn, Sam Simmonds, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Henry Slade, Matt Kvesic and Henry Slade sent Sandy Park crazy and laid down a marker for the season.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Many are expecting the best of Matt Kvesic this season and he got off to a fine start with a man-of-the-match display against the Tigers.
The flanker has suffered with injury since moving from Gloucester Rugby in 2017 but, now fully fit, he is raring to go.
Against Leicester, the flanker was everywhere – disrupting the breakdown and forcing turnovers.
His try capped off a perfect individual display which he will hope is the platform towards a strong campaign.
TRY OF THE MATCH
It is not often a second row can power through a packed defence thanks to both speed and power, but Sam Skinner did just that against the Tigers.
The lanky lock picked his gap and burst right through it, before slipping in Henry Slade – who picked a clever support line – for a simple score.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Leicester had all the momentum in the early stages, with the England half-back combination of ben Youngs and George Ford particularly bright.
Ford had kicked the Tigers into a six-point lead with two penalties but he missed a third. That stalled their momentum and from there they could not recover.
WHAT THEY SAID:
Exeter Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter said: “The most pleasing thing is watching a group of players who have worked so hard in pre-season put so much into a game and get the rewards that hard work deserves.
“Leicester took some breaking down and it was probably much closer than the scoreline suggests, but we stuck at it, refused to bend and buckle and, because we did that, scores came.
“I can’t credit the players enough for how they have worked today. We’ve got a little bit of a flier with getting five points and we’ve got to keep pushing on next week.”
Leicester Tigers director of rugby Matt O’Connor said: “It’s pretty deflating. We knew coming into the game that we were probably 40, 60, 80 minutes shy of enough rugby in our frontline forwards but we couldn’t risk them because they are too important for us.
“The first 25 minutes was a very tasty encounter that took a lot of petrol out of us and we couldn’t recover.
“Exeter are a very good side and they have put down a massive marker around what they want to achieve this year.
“It was probably closer in large parts than it appeared on the scoreboard, but the run they had at the back end of the game was very impressive.”
BEST OF SOCIAL
Five down, one to go on the opening weekend of the season 🔥
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) September 1, 2018
— Exeter Chiefs (@ExeterChiefs) September 1, 2018
You probably don’t need to be told, but Sam Simmonds has been tearing it up at Sandy Park. The man is everywhere – and looks to have beefed up a little. Kvesic and Devoto very good too #Exeter #Leicester #PremRugby #rugby
— Will Kelleher (@willgkelleher) September 1, 2018
Pretty special start from the boys today👏🏽
— Jack Nowell (@nowellsy15) September 1, 2018
Thank you so much for the travelling support that was shown today by the @LeicesterTigers fans, all of it is very appreciated and wish we could have performed much better!
— Gengey (@EllisGenge) September 1, 2018