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Match Report: Harlequins 17 Exeter Chiefs 41

05 May 2018
Match Report: Harlequins 17 Exeter Chiefs 41

Exeter Chiefs continued their fine-tuning for the Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals in perfect style as Joe Simmonds inspired them to down Harlequins at a sun-kissed Stoop.

The defending champions have now won their last eight in a row against Quins and they wrapped up a bonus point before the break in a breathless first-half.

Simmonds’ opposite man Marcus Smith opened the scoring with a jinking run but that proved a false dawn for the home side.

Dave Ewers scored the Chiefs’ first from close range, then swatted defenders aside and offloaded to set up Dave Dennis for their  second.

Simmonds’ break then created territory for a second Dennis score from close range and the fly-half then rounded off a deadly first half with the fourth score and the bonus point.

Mike Brown did manage to pull one back for the home side on the stroke of half time and with Smith’s conversion Quins only trailed 24-17 at the break.

The second half was still full of attacking rugby but the tries were not as forthcoming – Simmonds’ replacement Gareth Steenson slotting a penalty near the end to make the game sure for the visitors.

But in the final ten minutes replacements Tom Hendrickson and Alec Hepburn were both driven over form short range to put some gloss on the scoreline for the visitors.

Rob Baxter’s in-form side have now won nine in a row in all competitions and will face Newcastle Falcons at Sandy Park in a fortnight’s time as they bid to return to Twickenham for a third season in a row.

While the regular season ends for Harlequins on a sour note as departing director of rugby John Kingston failed to oversee one last win in front of their own fans.