Leicester Tigers suffered a 29-10 defeat to Exeter Chiefs away from home in Round 9 of the 23/24 Gallagher Premiership, despite a late comeback from Dan McKellar's side at Sandy Park.
It was dominant first 40 minutes from the home side, including a fast start in front of a sell out crowd at Sandy Park, which saw them cross for two tries in the opening ten minutes.
The first took just six minutes when Jacques Vermeulen crashed over from close range on the back of a territorial advantage helped by repeated infringements from Tigers.
Henry Slade's first contribution to the scoreboard of the afternoon made it 7-0 before the lead extended to 14-0 when George Martin was ruled to have tackled a man without the ball during a Chiefs attack that threatened the Leicester defensive line and the TMO deemed it enough to award a Penalty Try.
Martin was shown a yellow card following the decision, taking Tigers down a man for the next ten minutes.
Leicester managed to hold on during the sin bin period despite the relentless attack of the home side which continued to test the visitors resolve.
Dominating possession, with more than 60% of the ball for almost 40 minutes, Exeter got their third against the run of play in the final minutes of the half when Slade swooped on a loose pass from Handré Pollard and ran it in under the posts before converting his try to make it 21-0 at the break.
Slade added a penalty goal just shy of ten minutes after half time to make it a 24-0 lead for Chiefs before, approaching the hour mark, Leicester got on to the scoreboard when Anthony Watson crossed in his first league start of the campaign.
The try came on the back of a strong ten minutes from Tigers, putting the hosts under pressure deep inside their own end, and Watson was the beneficiary out wide on the end of a well-placed pass from Solomone Kata to see him with a clear run to the line.
Pollard was unable to convert and the deficit remained 19 points with just 20 minutes left on the clock.
After a strong ten-minute spell from Tigers, Kata added a second try assist in the 70th minute when he offered up another beautiful ball down the left flank for Freddie Steward to take and go over for his side's second.
The try was unable to be converted by replacement Jamie Shillcock which meant the difference was 14 points, where it looked like it would remain until a try with the clock in the red for the home side to secure a bonus-point, 29-10 win at Sandy Park.
Dan McKellar and his side host Bath Rugby up next, on New Year's Eve, in the first of back-to-back matchdays at Mattioli Woods Welford Road ahead of a January 6 Double Header at home for the men's and women's teams against London Saracens (Gallagher Premiership) and Harlequins (Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby).
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