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Match Reaction: Exeter Chiefs 31 Harlequins 17

Match Reaction: Exeter Chiefs 31 Harlequins 17

Last season’s title-winners Exeter Chiefs are top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby pile after their bonus-point victory over Harlequins at Sandy Park.

Jonny Hill bagged a double for Rob Baxter’s side to add to first-half tries for Olly Woodburn and Lachie Turner to see off Harlequins’ robust challenge.

The south-west London side scored first-period tries themselves through James Chisholm and Tim Visser but despite a classy performance from Marcus Smith Harlequins couldn’t keep the champions out.

MAN OF THE MATCH – Jonny Hill

It’s not often those giant men in the engine room get themselves a brace but Hill managed just that feat in a strong all-round performance against John Kingston’s side.

His first try converted pack strength into a five-pointer and his second rounded off a fantastic team effort, with the lock striding over in the corner to kill off Harlequins’ fightback.

TRY OF THE MATCH

Scotland wing Visser’s try seemed to come out of nowhere, with young fly-half Smith collecting a kick deep in his own half.

But the stand-off punted the ball upfield and when Gareth Steenson misjudged its landing the 18-year-old pounced, offloading to the onrushing Visser to draw Harlequins level.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

Just before half-time and with the scores at 14-14, two tries apiece, England hopeful Olly Woodburn turned on a bit of defensive magic to prevent James Horwill going over the line.

The winger dived to the ground at full pelt, managing to spin the giant Australian lock around and somehow away from the tryline.

WHAT THEY SAID

Exeter Chiefs head coach Ali Hepher commented: “We’re a little bit disappointed with our performance levels but we can understand it as well.

“We’ve had some good training weeks and we’ve rested the guys up as well but you can’t beat match minutes and that’s what we were lacking a bit.

“We’ve got to make sure we knuckle down and we’ll definitely be better next week for that.

Harlequins director of rugby John Kingston said: “We were determined to challenge them and I think you saw that in the performance.

“We never gave up, but I’m disappointed we didn’t get something out of it.”

SOCIAL MEDIA REACTION

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