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Match report: Northampton Saints 14 Exeter Chiefs 35

23 Dec 2017
Match report: Northampton Saints 14 Exeter Chiefs 35

Jack Yeandle’s last-gasp score handed Exeter Chiefs a bonus-point triumph at Northampton Saints.

Tries from Will Chudley, Sam Simmonds and Thomas Waldrom saw Aviva Premiership Rugby table-toppers Exeter Chiefs on course to grind out victory, hooker Yeandle snuck the ball over the line in stoppage time to hand his team the perfect pre-Christmas gift.

Gareth Steenson’s seventh-minute penalty got the visitors on the scoreboard and, five minutes later, Chudley really got the Chiefs motoring as he burst into life front the breakdown and collected his own chipped kick into the air before crashing over the line.

Exeter almost racked up a quickfire double through Olly Woodburn but he grounded the ball inches short of the try line thanks to Harry Mallinder’s intervention.

Mallinder’s heroics set the platform for Northampton to haul themselves back into contention, a slick first-phase move seeing Rob Horne feed Ahsee Tuala to crash over, Piers Francis adding the extras.

Steenson bisected the posts once again in the 31st minute to put the Saints four points to the good, a lead they would hold through to half-time.

Three minutes into the second period, Exeter fly-half Steenson completed a hat-trick of penalties and, after a period where both sides slugged it out, the visitors rapped at the door with a succession of driving mauls after Ben Foden had been sent to the sin bin.

The pressure eventually told and on the hour mark, the Chiefs eventually forced their way over, Simmonds dropping down to get the final touch, Steenson adding the extras.

Exeter continued to press the issue home, having an attempted score ruled out by the TMO as they won scrum penalty after scrum penalty.

As the clock ticked into the 73rd minute, Waldrom bundled over for his team’s third try of the game, converted by Steenson.

However, the Franklin’s Gardens faithful were given something to shout about shortly afterwards when Cobus Reinach zipped over the line from 10 metres out, Francis adding the extras.

Then came Yeandle’s late intervention.