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Match Report: Exeter Chiefs 42-12 Northampton Saints

25 May 2019
Match Report: Exeter Chiefs 42-12 Northampton Saints

Joe Simmonds ran the show as Exeter Chiefs blew Northampton Saints away at Sandy Park to book a date with Saracens in next weekend’s Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final.

In a pulsating first half, the Chiefs took an early 14-0 lead thanks to converted tries from Harry Williams and Simmonds but Northampton fought back when they were awarded a penalty try, with Exeter’s Tom O’Flaherty given a yellow card, and Ahsee Tuala went over.

After the break, Saints responded well with two tries in three minutes from Dave Dennis and O’Flaherty before Sam Simmonds and Jonny Hill rounded the game out with tries in the final ten minutes.

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Exeter’s victory sends them to their fourth successive Premiership Rugby Final where they will be hoping to avenge last season’s 27-10 defeat to Saracens at Twickenham.

The game began in cagey fashion as regular-season table-toppers Exeter dominated possession but Northampton managed to withstand the pressure with some resolute defending.

This momentum finally told in the 16th minute when tighthead prop Williams powerfully rolled his way through the tackle and over from short range.

Minutes later, Joe Simmonds added a second when he was found in space and dummied his way through the Saints defence to score by the posts.

The visitors fought back before half-time when they were first awarded a penalty try by the television match official with Exeter winger O’Flaherty given a yellow card for coming in from the side, preventing James Fish going over cleanly, before Tuala reduced the arrears to two points when he was well found by Rory Hutchinson’s acrobatic flick out of the back of his hand.

Saints could have led at the break, too, but for Cobus Reinach dropping the ball when he was in to score.

Northampton looked to pick up where they left off at the start of the second half but a three-minute blitz put the hosts in control as lock Dennis powered over before a superb driving solo effort from O’Flaherty added further points.

As resolute in defence as they proved at times, Northampton could not get the ball back and Exeter confirmed the result with their fifth try when replacement Sam Simmonds was confirmed to have grounded the ball over the line by the TMO during another sustained attack.

There was just time for Hill to put the cherry on the cake with a sixth try, continuing Exeter’s run of only two defeats at Sandy Park since February 2018 and they can now look forward to a trip to Twickenham.

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