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Home > News > Plymouth Albion 14 - Exeter Chiefs 41
Your News Plymouth Albion 14 - Exeter Chiefs 41

Exeter Chiefs extended their unbeaten run to six games, and recorded their fifth consecutive derby victory against their local rivals, as they overwhelmed Albion with an impressive performance before a record crowd in Plymouth.

A large travelling support were in good voice right from the first minute as Gareth Steenson knocked over a penalty after the Chiefs’ recycling attempts from their own kick off were illegally halted by the home side failing to roll away from the tackle. Two minutes later, the exact same scenario unfolded again in favour this time of Albion but fly-half Keiran Hallett failed to match his counterpart.

Plymouth received a setback in the fifth minute as, after an impressive home attack was desperately defended by the Chiefs, David Palu was forced off on a stretcher with a serious looking injury. Plymouth re-organised themselves and were back on level terms soon after when Hallett kicked a penalty given for another offence of not rolling away. From the restart, the Chiefs launched their first assault of substance and, with backs and forwards combining well, spaces were created for Nic Sestaret and Lewis Stevenson to surge through and set up a rolling maul that plunged over the try-line; Tom Johnson getting the points. Steenson made no mistake with the conversion.

Exeter began to get more than their fair share of possession as the half wore on and they extended their lead on 16 minutes as Steenson landed a 35-metre penalty from the touchline after Josh Drauniniu had been taken out with a high tackle. Plymouth were determined not to let their neighbours get away and stretch their lead though and, following a number of impressive moves themselves, they got back in the game with a Hallett penalty on 18 minutes followed by a try from Martin Rice a few minutes later after a mass bundle of a maul saw Albion over the line after a sustained attack. Hallett failed to bring the scores level with another missed kick.

Exeter replied almost straight from the restart as they, once again, secured their own ball and ran with purpose and direction at the retreating Albion defence. As Plymouth struggled to cover the onslaught, Stevenson brutishly bullied his way through a small knot of defenders and over the line for a try that Steenson again converted. As the half came to close Exeter suffered an injury scare of their own. Bryan Rennie was forced off with a nasty shoulder injury to be replaced by Mark Fatialofa to make his 100th league appearance for the Chiefs. Albion succeeded with another penalty just before half time to keep them very much in the hunt still at the break.

Usually games between these sides are tight and nervy affairs, so the sun-soaked crowd could not have been expecting the open running game that followed in the second half. Both sides were looking to move the ball at every opportunity with Exeter having the edge on creativity and territory. After five minutes, Exeter successfully wheeled the Albion scrum on the Plymouth 22-metre line and, from their own put-in at the following scrum, Richie Baxter popped the ball to Clive Stuart-Smith who found Josh Drauniniu coming into the line at pace, which was enough for him to scoot through a gap to score; Steenson converted.

The game opened up even more as Exeter began to hunt down the bonus point and Albion tried to find a way through the powerful Chiefs defence. Johnson, Stevenson and Drauniniu were all prominent and each made ground every time they were involved. But after an attacking spell, the game became disjointed with injuries and replacements taking effect and a fourth try was looking increasingly unlikely particularly when Chris Budgen was sent packing for an offence spotted by the referee at a scrum breakdown.

Exeter coped with the changes in personnel the better and their superior organisation and fitness allowed them to finish the much stronger side. With minutes remaining, Nic Sestaret marked a dream return to his old club when he seized on a loose ball just over halfway and successfully hacked on twice to set up a foot race that he won to secure the bonus point. Steenson converted again as he did again just moments later as, with the penultimate move of the game, Matt Cornwell intercepted a Plymouth pass and sprinted unattended from 40 metres.

With a faultless kicking display by Steenson and a powerful performance from the pack, who prevented Albion scoring a single point in the second half, the Chiefs proved to be good value for their win and sent their hundreds of fans home happy with local bragging rights intact.


Plymouth Albion – Samui (Laidlaw 78mins); Griffiths (Jarvis 20mins), Cruickshanks, Fisilau, Mensah-Coker; Hallett, Palu (Nicholls 5mins); Rice, Owen, Du Toit (Hopkins 50mins); Lewis, Brenton (capt), Stephen, Thomas (Denbee 53mins), Evans (Marriott 53mins).

Exeter Chiefs – Marsden; Sestaret, Rennie (Fatialofa 35mins, Gray 62mins), Cornwell, Drauniniu; Steenson, Stuart-Smith (Lewsey 60mins); Parkes (Budgen 53mins), Clark (Blythe 63mins), Andress; Stevenson (Skelding 70mins), Tuohy (Hayes 77mins); Johnson, Pugh, Baxter (capt).


Plymouth Albion – Try: Rice; Pens: Hallett (3).

Exeter Chiefs – Tries: Johnson, Stevenson, Drauniniu, Sestaret, Cornwell; Cons: Steenson (5); Pens: Steenson (2).

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