Chiefs finish debut season on high
May 7, 2011
Chiefs finish on a high
Exeter Chiefs completed their successful debut season in the Aviva Premiership with a 21-8 victory over London Wasps at Sandy Park.
While it rounded off a fantastic season for the Chiefs, Wasps will be left wondering what they have to do to address their poor performance on the road in the Premiership where they have not won since beating Bath back in November.
Sandy Park's biggest crowd of the season - 10,522 - watched a typical end-of-season display that was littered in the first half with basic errors.
Scrum-half Hayden Thomas was given the honour of leading out the home side at the end of Exeter's first season in the Premiership in what was his 100th league appearance for the Chiefs.
Wasps applied the early pressure but when the Chiefs made their first venture in to the opposition half they won a penalty, though fly-half Ignacio Mieres' 30-metre kick from in front of the posts hit the upright. But instead of the Chiefs being 3-0 up, Wasps hit back with wing Christian Wade shrugging off a tackle from fullback Luke Arscott to stretch for the line and get the touchdown in the right corner with the game just six minutes old.
Midway through the half Mieres, with the wind at his back, attempted a kick from halfway but the ball floated just past the upright but a couple of minutes later the Argentinean found his mark from 36 metres.
The Chiefs were then forced to defend their line as the Wasps forwards kept battering away until the ball was knocked on and at the scrum, the visitors were penalised five metres out and the home side were able to clear their line.
After soaking up more pressure the Chiefs mounted an attack with Arscott breaking up to the Wasps 22 where the visitors were then penalised for another infringement at the scrum and Mieres nudged Exeter into the lead.
Exeter's Neil Clark is wrapped up by the Wasps defence © Getty Images
Exeter were rewarded for their persistence throughout the half with a 25-metre penalty kick by Mieres, his third from five attempts, on the stroke of half-time to give the Chiefs a 9-5 interval lead.
Wasps reduced the arrears early in the second half after a turnover ball with fly-half Dave Walder, who had missed a first half touchline conversion, landed a 25-metre drop goal.
Exeter then applied the pressure and won a penalty in front of the posts but they opted for a series of scrums though referee Llyr Ap Geraint-Roberts, in his first Premiership game, failed to go for a yellow card.
The home side kept their composure with first centre Sireli Naqelevuki attempting to barge to the line and with another free ball, flanker Tom Johnson burrowed his way to the line.
Mieres added the conversion but Wasps had an early opportunity to reduce the arrears but with Walder having been replaced by former England international Josh Lewsey, wing Elliot Daly was wide with his penalty attempt.
Mieres was wide with his next penalty attempt from on the left but the Chiefs kept the pressure on and wing Matt Jess squeezed in the left corner but Mieres again hit the upright with his conversion attempt.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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