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Home > News > Exeter Chiefs 71 - Sedgely Park 5
Your News Exeter Chiefs 71 - Sedgely Park 5

Hosting Sedgley Park on a decidedly damp day, the Chiefs were no doubt looking for a complete performance having snatched victory at the death the previous week at Bedford.

Sedgley Park came to Exeter having won two from five, but on the back of a narrow loss to Coventry. Possibly more important though was that they had suffered a string of injuries that led to forced changes. Despite this, director of rugby Tim Fourie was bullishly talking of at least a four-try bonus point and a possible win. Nothing could have prepared him for the reality of a 71-5 beating in a game where pace, power, fitness and finesse ruled and the part-time visitors had nothing much to offer in response.

Playing south to north, Exeter failed to gather the Tigers' kick and the resultant scrum went to the visitors from which Sedgley Park were immediately penalised for going over at the ruck. Clean ball from the lineout saw Kevin Barrett burst through to set up Chiefs' first attack. Patient phase play followed by quick hands which came to nothing with a knock-on, but the referee's arm was already out for the penalty advantage. Giving notice of intent, Chiefs opted for the scrum and the pack drove over from this to be adjudged held up. From the scrum again, the Chiefs launched a good attack, the ball being knocked on over the line. Once again, the referee indicated a prior Sedgley offence and again Chiefs opted for the scrum. No mistakes this time as Alan Miller was driven over to score on six minutes with Danny Gray curling in his kick to convert.

From the restart, Sedgley knocked on and Gray cleared his lines from the scrum to put the visitors back in their half for the lineout. A high ball was collected by Barrett, who quickly shipped the ball. Winger Matt Jess made a blistering break to pass to Sean Marsden to finish the move with a try; Gray again converting.

A stolen ball gave Chiefs their next chance through the battering ram that is Mark Fatialofa making the initial yards, then a few more made by the pack before the ball made its way through fast hands to Josh Drauninui, who carved the defence to score under the posts. Gray was clearly enjoying his return to fitness by slotting his third.

Sedgley Park took possession at the restart but were turned over for Exeter to only clear as far as the Tigers' full-back. A high return kick was caught by the wind and made it only as far as a home player's hands. Once again on the attack, Fatialofa's sweet pass out of the tackle set up the charge for Sam Blythe to cross for a try. With barely time to draw breath, the Tigers found themselves ripped apart by some incisive running to put Marsden over again from the restart. Both tries were converted by Gray.

At 35-0 after just 24 minutes, the Tigers had an air of desperation about them and launched a decent attack trying to play with a bit of width, but were turned over again. Drauniniu kicked ahead to be beaten by whisker to the ball over the line.

An attacking scrum then set up for Barrett to pick up and dance over to score and the metronome that is Gray added the extras once more.

Tigers took the initiative at the re-start and after snaffling some possession, they shipped the ball fast and wide to see centre Lisiate Tafa cross for an unconverted try.

In reply, a lineout saw the now familiar pattern played out with debutant Ben Moon scoring his first try for the Chiefs to mark half-time.

With a commanding half-time lead, the home crowd of more than 4,000 was buzzing as the teams ran out for the second half. On the attack again, the Chiefs initially opted for some close-quarter attacks, which must have had a draining effect on the Tigers pack. A quickly taken penalty then put Jess over wide on the right. Gray, now kicking into a stiff breeze, was accurate but short.

At the restart, the Tigers were penalised for going in at the side and Chiefs had an attacking lineout which they squandered when Sedgley Park managed to clean it up. This was definitely not the Tigers day as they knocked on and once again the home side were on the charge and, but for a forward pass, they could have been on the board again. With the visitors again knocking on shortly afterwards, Chiefs started to inject pace again and a neat switch pass by Gray put Jess into space to dash to the line to score under the posts for his second with Gray taking the extras.

With the score at 59-5 the game began to lose a bit of shape especially with the wind picking up and the temperature dropping. But still Johnson surged forward to set up an assault on the Tigers line which was held up in a last ditch action. The Chiefs made no mistake from the five-metre scrum though with quick ball finding Jess, whose pace put him over for his hat-trick.

Going into the last 10 minutes, it was clear that a despondent and exhausted Sedgley Park squad were at a loss as to how to contain, let alone attack, Chiefs with any effect. Even when possession was given to them via an Exeter error, they failed to set at the scrum correctly and a free kick put Exeter back on the offensive. Following a penalty for offside, Gray darted though to add a try of his own.


Exeter Chiefs - Marsden; Jess, Ward, Fatialofa (Bedford 54mins), Drauninui (Cracknell 54mins): Gray; Barrett (Bolt 46mins), Parkes (capt) (Kingsland), Blythe, Moon, Stevenson (Tuohy 35mins), Skelding, Johnson, Miller, Hayes.

Sedgley Park - Riley; Swatkins (Weeden), Hall, Tafa, Wilcock; Atkinson, Wilkinson (Urmston 71mins); Gazzola (Greenham), Roberts (Roddam (31mins), Du

Plessis (Livesey 66mins), Fourie (Woods 40mins), Townson, Jones (Crous 40mins), Newton, Cook.

Exeter Chiefs Tries: Miller, Marsden (2), Drauninui, Blythe, Barrett, Moon, Gray, Jess (3); Cons: Gray (8)

Sedgley Park Try: Tafa

Attendance: 4,016

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