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Report | Tigers win at Exeter

Figure image

Two tries from Chris Ashton and one from Freddie Steward gave Leicester Tigers a 22-17 victory over Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park on Sunday.

Ashton got the visitors off to a perfect start with an early score in the Gallagher Premiership Round 21 encounter and Tigers had the bulk of possession and territory in the opening half as they led 12-0 at the break following Steward’s score on his return from international duty.

They increased the lead to 19 points in the second half when Ashton equalled the Premiership record of 92 tries held by Tom Varndell but then had to withstand a fightback from the hosts before finally taking the four points with a big defensive effort in the closing stages after six successive defeats in Devon.

Steward was joined in the matchday 23 by fellow England players Ellis Genge, Ben Youngs, George Ford, Ollie Chessum and Nic Dolly in the first game since the end of the Six Nations, while Hanro Liebenberg ran out for his 50th appearance for Tigers.

Exeter boss Rob Baxter included England duo Sam Simmonds and Henry Slade though Jack Nowell suffered an arm injury in England’s game against France last week and Scotland captain Stuart Hogg was rested.

Liebenberg’s early chargedown after Ford had got the game underway kept play at the Exeter end of the field and it remained there as Ben Youngs was impeded at a ruck under the posts and penalties began to stack up against the hosts.

After referee Luke Pearce spoke to the home side’s captain Joe Simmonds, Tigers held on to the ball and, when Youngs wrestled possession back from a static maul, George Ford judged his crosskick to perfection for Ashton to catch and run in to score.

Ford’s conversion attempt thumped back out off the right-hand post, but his prompting took play back to the Ashton wing moments later before Exeter were able to play out from the lineout and a penalty for offside which finally gave Simmonds the chance to kick well upfield.

They used the position to build some promising possession, with big carries from their back-rowers. But when scrum-half Sam Maunders picked up ball 10 metres out, the Tigers defence quickly closed in and won a penalty on the floor.

A towering kick from Ford had Simmonds back under his own posts and, although he juggled before making the catch, Tom O’Flaherty arrived in support to kick clear.

After a high tackle on Josh Hodge near halfway, Slade planted the penalty into the right-hand corner. A quick exchange at the lineout put flanker Jacques Vermeulen in possession but he was forced him into touch just short of the line.

Vermeulen, though, left the field on a yellow card after a deliberate knock-on after 24 minutes as he tried to block an offload from Nemani Nadolo near the touchline.

Tigers were quickly back on the attack, but when they were forced back by the defence, they were also marched back by the referee for a second time in the opening 25 minutes after Pearce blew in Exeter’s favour near the touchline.

Stolen lineout ball and a carry from Genge as he chased a chip from Youngs got Tigers moving in attack again and then Ford’s teasing kick almost brought a score for Dan Kelly, only for the ball to escape his grasp over the tryline.

Seconds later, though, there was no mistake as Youngs chipped through and, as the bounce favoured Steward, he reached out to score. With Ford having treatment to an ankle knock, Kelly kicked the extras to make it 12-0.

Guy Porter’s kickchase forced Hodge into a handling error and gave Tigers more set-piece ball as Freddie Burns ran on to replace the injured Ford and play returned to the hosts’ 22 before they managed to counter-ruck and clear.

Tigers were penalised on halfway as Steward leapt for a high ball, giving Exeter territory for the first time in a lengthy spell. When Dave Ewers carried on the right, they threatened briefly until Julian Montoya capitalised on defensive work by Eli Snyman and Joe Heyes to win a penalty.

Play was brought back by the TMO, though, and a penalty awarded against Ashton for a tip tackle in the build-up. Simmonds refused the three points to go to the left and play remained there for two more penalties before Tigers held up one last charge for the line to bring the half to a close with Tigers still 12 points in front.

There were no changes to the line-ups as Exeter restarted in the sunshine and they held attacking ball for the opening few minutes before an error near halfway led to a third try from Tigers and a second for Ashton.

As Exeter played to their left, two attackers over-ran a pass, Ashton picked up one-handed and then had the pace to stay clear before dotting down and Burns added the kick for a 19-0 lead.

Nadolo was yellow-carded as he was adjudged to have committed a deliberate knock-on just inside the Tigers half on 50 minutes and soon afterwards Exeter were on the scoreboard as they built from the back of a scrum and big carries up front for Dave Ewers to score. The Simmonds conversion made it 7-19.

Tommy Reffell and Jack van Poortvliet were sent on from the bench as the game restarted, with just a couple of minutes left on the Nadolo sin bin and the wing was quickly back on the ball from the back of a lineout, with Exeter penalised at the breakdown, and Burns kicked to make it 22-7.

Porter launched a counter-attack when he ripped ball from Woodburn and the backline led the charge upfield to pen their hosts in their own territory before successive penalty awards took play back into the Tigers 22.

This time, Exeter kept play in the forwards and pounded towards the tryline, met by a succession of Tigers tacklers, before Jonny Gray forced his way over. But after checks with the TMO, there was no firm evidence of grounding.

Play restarted with a penalty, though, and this time Exeter celebrated a score from prop Patrick Schickerling. The conversion made it 14-22 with seven minutes left on the clock.

Then a Simmonds penalty set up a tense finish, closing the gap to five points and giving fresh voice to the home crowd.

Another penalty provided another platform but Exeter failed to get men off the floor in the lineout and Jasper Wiese charged out with the ball.

The final minutes saw Exeter in possession but Tigers retained discipline and organisation in defence, finally pushing them back to their own tryline to bring the final whistle from Pearce.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

EXE 0-12 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

EXE 17-22 LEI

Attendance

Not available

Referee

Luke Pearce

Exeter Chiefs
Exeter Chiefs
17

Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
22
Exeter Chiefs
T
C
T
C
P
KOHTFT
Leicester Tigers
T
T
T
C
T
T
C
P

Match Stats

Exeter Chiefs
Leicester Tigers
Possession
61%
39%
Territory
45%
55%
Penalties Conceded
12
18
Yellow Cards
1
1
Red Cards
0
0
Tackles Won
110/129 85%
240/266 90%
Scrums Won
2/3 67%
5/5 100%
Lineouts Won
10/13 77%
15/17 88%

Player Stats

Exeter Chiefs
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
TCDP
15Freddie Steward1T
14Chris Ashton2T
13Guy Porter
12Dan Kelly1C
11Nemani Nadolo
10George Ford
9Ben Youngs
1Ellis Genge
2Julian Montoya
3Joe Heyes
4Harry Wells
5Eli Snyman
6Ollie Chessum
7Hanro Liebenberg
8Jasper Wiese
16Nic Dolly
17James Whitcombe
18Nephi Leatigaga
19Calum Green
20Tommy Reffell
21Jack van Poortvliet
22Freddie Burns1C1P
23Matias Moroni

Commentary

FULL TIME

Game over, Tigers have 4 points from a 22-17 win at Exeter. Tries by Ashton (2) and Steward.

80

Tigers defence hunts down Exeter on their own line with the clock ticking down.

Penalty by Simmonds makes it 17-22 to Tigers on 76 minutes. 

Simmonds adds the conversion, Exeter 14-22 Tigers, 73min

Schickerling scores for Exeter, 12-22, 72min

Penalty from Burns, from 22 metres, stretches score to 22-7 in Tigers' favour on 64min

61

Tigers back up to full strength with Nadolo returning from the sin bin. Green, Reffell and van Poortvliet have been used from the bench.

Simmonds converts the Exeter try, Tigers lead 19-7 on 57min

Points on the board for Exeter as they build from a scrum and carries up front before Dave Ewers makes his way over to score. 5-19 on 55min.

Nadolo yellow card for deliberate knock-on.

Freddie Burns makes the conversion and Tigers lead 19-0 on 48mins

Chris Ashton races on to spilled Exeter ball and stays clear to score his second of the day. He equals Tom Varndell's record of 92 Premireship tries.

Chris Ashton races on to spilled Exeter ball and stays clear to score his second of the day. He equals Tom Varndell's record of 92 Premireship tries.

41

The teams are back out for the second half with Tigers 12-0 in front.

HALF TIME WHISTLE

Tigers defend a final push for the line by Exeter and still lead 12-0 at the break after tries by Ashton & Steward.

HALF TIME WHISTLE

Tigers defend a final push for the line by Exeter and still lead 12-0 at the break after tries by Ashton & Steward.

40

Exeter are held up over the line as they go from a lineout drive after turning down a kick at goal.

32

Freddie Burns is on to replace Ford at fly-half.

Dan Kelly adds the conversion as Ford has treatment to an ankle knock. 12-0 to Tigers on 31min.

Freddie Steward reads the chip from Youngs and reaches out to score. Tigers lead 10-0 on 30min.

Vermeulen yellow card  for deliberate knock-on near halfway as Tigers start an attack.

23

Nadolo taps aerial ball into his hands but Exeter chase back to block Tigers progress.

20

Exeter's throw finds referee Luke Pearce at the back of the lineout. Good hands from the official too. Retake.

18

Exeter try to drive to the corner from a 5-metre lineout but Tigers wrap up the ball and force the carrier into touch short of the line. Tigers still lead 5-0.

18

Exeter try to drive to the corner from a 5-metre lineout but Tigers wrap up the ball and force the carrier into touch short of the line. Tigers still lead 5-0.

13

Best attack so far from Exeter, carrying hard through the back row, but as scrum-half Maunder approaches the five-metre line, Tigers close in and win a penalty on the floor.  

8

Ford's conversion comes back off the post but Tigers are 5-0 in front.

Chris Ashton scores his 91st Premiership try after a crosskick from George Ford. 7min gone

Chris Ashton scores his 91st Premiership try after a crosskick from George Ford. 7min gone

We are under way, as George Ford kicks off. 

We are under way, as George Ford kicks off. 

0

Good afternoon to all of the #TigersFamily who have made the trip too. Thank you for your support. 

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0

WEATHER CHECK

It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Devon, there’s a bit of a breeze blowing across the pitch but the sun is shining and the short sleeves are out.

0

TODAY’S OPPOSITION

Exeter Chiefs
15 Josh Hodge, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Tom O'Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds (c), 9 Sam Maunder; 1 Alec Hepburn, 2 Jack Innard, 3 Harry Williams, 4 Richard Capstick, 5 Jonny Gray, 6 Dave Ewers, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 8 Sam Simmonds

Replacements
16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Billy Keast, 18 Patrick Schickerling, 19 Will Witty, 20 Santiago Grondona, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Harvey Skinner, 23 Facundo Cordero

0

HOW TIGERS LINE-UP

Starting XV

15 Freddie Steward [47], 14 Chris Ashton [4], 13 Guy Porter [37], 12 Dan Kelly [39], 11 Nemani Nadolo [30], 10 George Ford [119], 9 Ben Youngs [274]; 1 Ellis Genge (c) [101], 2 Julián Montoya [21], 3 Joe Heyes [92], 4 Harry Wells [146], 5 Eli Snyman [15], 6 Ollie Chessum [23], 7 Hanro Liebenberg (vc) [49], 8 Jasper Wiese [35]

Replacements

16 Nic Dolly [18], 17 James Whitcombe [18], 18 Nephi Leatigaga [62], 19 Calum Green [82], 20 Tommy Reffell [69], 21 Jack van Poortvliet [41], 22 Freddie Burns [93], 23 Matías Moroni [26]

0

MATCH PREVIEW | Exeter Chiefs v Leicester Tigers

Leicester Tigers and Exeter Chiefs meet for the first time since the opening week of the season as Sandy Park hosts today’s Gallagher Premiership Round 21 encounter.

Exeter won four in a row before a narrow defeat at Worcester in Round 20, but have lost just once at home since November.

Tigers’ only defeat in their last six Premiership matches was at Saracens in Round 19 but they have not won on their last six trips to Exeter.

Steve Borthwick welcomes players back from England duty this week, with Ellis Genge named as captain. Ben Youngs, George Ford, Freddie Steward and Ollie Chessum also start.

Exeter include England duo Sam Simmonds and Henry Slade following the Six Nations.

Tigers are in change colours of white, black and orange.

Luke Pearce is in charge of his 125th Premiership match as referee.

0

WELCOME TO MATCHDAY LIVE!

Wherever you are enjoying the sunshine this afternoon, you can keep up to date with the Tigers action with Matchday Live on the Tigers App and website at www.leicestertigers.com.

We are LIVE from Sandy Park as Tigers face Exeter Chiefs in Round 21 of the Gallagher Premiership season. Kick-off is at 3.00pm.


Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

15
Josh Hodge
14
Olly Woodburn
13
Henry Slade
12
Ian Whitten
11
Tom O'Flaherty
10
Joe Simmonds
9
Sam Maunder
1
Alec Hepburn
2
Jack Innard
3
Harry Williams
4
Richard Capstick
5
Jonny Gray
6
Dave Ewers
7
Jacques Vermeulen
8
Sam Simmonds

Subs

16
Jack Yeandle
17
Billy Keast
18
Patrick Schickerling
19
Will Witty
20
Santiago Grondona
21
Jack Maunder
22
Harvey Skinner
23
Facundo Cordero
posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
1
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI242004726452274885211394
7
Exeter Chiefs
Exeter ChiefsEXE24130115845345082679869
Form Guide
Form
WLLLW
Last Match
Beat Harlequins 47-38
Past Meeting
Lost 17-22
Form
Last Match
Past Meeting
Form
LWWWW
Last Match
Beat Saracens 15-12
Past Meeting
Won 22-17

Matchday Live

Exeter Chiefs17
Exeter Chiefs
Leicester Tigers22
Leicester Tigers
Full Time