Exeter power past Worcester
November 3, 2012
Exeter powered past Worcester
Exeter Chiefs bounced back from their defeat to Bath last weekend with a commanding 33-9 win over Worcester Warriors at Sandy Park on Saturday.
Exeter led 19-3 at half-time but the match then went off the boil, with the hosts only finding their rhythm in the final 10 minutes as they pulled further clear thanks to tries from Haydn Thomas and Chris Budgen. Gonzalo Camacho touched down for an early try, and Gareth Steenson booted 16 points, with Worcester's reply coming in the form of three Andy Goode penalties.
Exeter approached the game on the back of three straight defeats, to Leinster and Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup and away to Bath in the Premiership last weekend. They made four changes, with Fijian Sireli Naqelevuki starting at outside centre, Chris Whitehead at hooker, and skipper Tom Hayes linking up with Aly Muldowney in the second row, meaning Dean Mumm switched to the back row.
Worcester also made changes, with hooker Ed Shervington and prop Ceri Jones making their first Premiership starts of the season. Lock Dean Schofield returned to lead the side, Chris Jones came in at number eight, while Josh Drauniniu returned on the wing. The visitors had won their last three games across all competitions but were forced to make a late change when Samoan international wing David Lemi withdrew due to a tight hamstring. Andy Short was drafted in for his first Premiership start.
Exeter took the lead after full-back Luke Arscott put a grubber kick through and wing Camacho hacked on and won the chase for the try line. Fly-half Steenson added the extras. Exeter's smooth start continued as Steenson, who had seen an early attempt hit the upright, took advantage of the wind at his back by adding three penalties to give the home side a 16-0 midway through the half.
Worcester full-back Chris Pennell was then forced to race back and touch down behind his own line after the Chiefs mounted another attack down the right. The visitors continued to test the patience of referee David Rose as they conceded another penalty at the scrum and Steenson again found the target to stretch the lead to 19 points.
With time almost up in the first half, the Warriors again kicked a couple of penalties to the corner to set-up catch and drives. They came to nothing but then home centre Phil Dollman was penalised for a high tackle and Andy Goode reduced the arrears to 19-3 at the break.
Worcester started the second period with a lot more energy but Exeter's defence stood firm for almost 10 minutes until they were penalised for hands in the ruck and Goode made it two successful kicks from two attempts. The visitors had a try from replacement Ravai Fatiaki ruled out for a forward pass, and from the resultant scrum Exeter were able to clear their line.
Worcester tried to capitalise on Exeter errors to creep their way into the opposition half and the penalty count continued as Goode landed his third penalty with 10 minutes remaining. But the Chiefs sealed the game as breaks from Arscott and Rich Baxter pressed them towards the line. Scrum-half Thomas picked up at the back of the ruck and dummied before diving over the line with Steenson adding the conversion.
With five minutes remaining, Worcester's former Cornish Pirates flanker Sam Betty was sent to the sin-bin for taking out Arscott. Dave Ewers went close to crossing the try-line but was stopped short and his fellow replacement Budgen went over, with Ignacio Mieres adding the extras.
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