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Home > News > Exeter Chiefs 76 - Rotherham 21
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Your News Exeter Chiefs 76 - Rotherham 21

Exeter’s long winning streak continued with another comprehensive victory in Arctic style conditions at Sandy Park. Rotherham arrived on the back of a big win against Newbury last weekend and they were looking to improve on their record of six wins and to move up from their mid-table position.

The Chiefs made a fast start and attacked from the off. Both Mark Fatialofa and Tom Johnson made strong breaks and forced Rotherham into conceding a penalty that Danny Gray knocked over after just two minutes. Shortly after, Exeter scored their first try of the afternoon. Clive Stuart-Smith managed to extricate himself from a ring of tacklers and started a move which Gray and Tom Hayes developed until some lovely interplay on the wing between Matt Jess and Paul McKenzie saw the latter take a return pass and speed over the line. Gray added the extra points.

Exeter were looking focused and full of running and purpose and it was only another five minutes before the second try was added. McKenzie was again prominent as he hit the line at pace and raced upfield before putting Sean Marsden clear with the final pass; Gray added the conversion and the Chiefs were away. Exeter were over the try line again on 17 minutes with Chris Budgen touching down for his fifth try of the season after Exeter had taken a scrum against the head and set up a mass wrestle on the Rotherham line from which Budgen emerged with the points.

The home crowd only had to wait another five minutes for the bonus point try to arrive. Gray was running the game in midfield by this stage and he set up another flowing move with him and Nic Sestaret in the starring roles before the back row took the ball over and quickly moved it from Richie Pugh and Richie Baxter and on to Johnson to score. Gray missed his first kick of the afternoon in what was otherwise an impressive kicking display by him. Meanwhile, the gloss was taken off the try as Fatialofa limped off, no doubt to the relief of the Titans’ midfield, whom he had terrorised.

Exeter scored two more tries before the interval. Firstly, Sam Blythe set off from a line out on halfway and passed to Johnson, who slipped outside the full-back with a great step and charged over for his second. Minutes later, Stuart-Smith got away with an indiscretion that enabled another strike against the head and provided quick ball for Johnson to send McKenzie away and through the defence before he linked with Sestaret and Marsden; Sestaret sealing the try. Surprisingly, the half ended with Rotherham opening their account as their first real period of pressure resulted in a well worked try for MacDonald, converted by Jonny West.

Exeter were straight back into try scoring mode after the break, as Jess went over for his 11th of the season finishing off a lengthy move orchestrated again by Gray. Anton O’Donnol replied with a try for the visitors a few minutes later which was soon cancelled out by another McKenzie try as the Rotherham defence was left in tatters by a Chiefs attack. Tom Bedford was continually getting over the gain line in the middle and he got his due reward for an excellent display as Fatialofa’s replacement, as he scored a try on 53 minutes, beating a host of defenders en route.

Although Rotherham’s defence was not the best they had plenty about them going forward and a fine breakaway by Errie Claassens created an easy try scoring opportunity for Sam Raven. Exeter responded again with more tries of their own. Jess broke out from his own 10-metre line and ran through nearly the entire Titans defence before unselfishly offloading the ball to Marsden to score. Two minutes, later Pugh finished off the scoring for the home side with his first try for the club after the back three had combined superbly to set up the position for him.

The last 10 minutes saw Rotherham have the most possession and territory that they enjoyed all game. The Chiefs stubbornness would not allow them to concede a fourth try and, although Budgen was sent to the sin bin for killing the ball, the attack was finally turned over and cleared. Exeter were a negligible forward pass away from ending the match with a try but they had by then done all that they could have hoped for at the end of a hugely satisfying win.

Teams:

Exeter Chiefs – Marsden; Sestaret, McKenzie, Fatialofa (Bedford 28mins), Jess; Gray (Steenson 57mins), Stuart-Smith (Lewsey 50mins); Budgen, Blythe (Clarke 46mins), Andress (Sturgess 46mins), Stevenson (Tuohy 46mins), Hayes, Johnson (Slade 46mins), Pugh, Baxter (capt).

Rotherham Titans – Hunt: MacDonald, Buckley, Allen, Claasens (Barlow 70mins); Whitehead (capt), West (Chivers 64mins); O’Donnell (Kilbane 64mins), Horn (Conroy 51mins), Tea; Challinor, McGowan; Burrows, Du Plessis (Hayter 53mins), Skurr (Raven 14 mins).

Scorers:

Exeter Chiefs – Tries: McKenzie (2), Marsden (2), Budgen, Johnson (2), Sestaret, Jess, Bedford, Pugh; Cons: Gray (7), Steenson (2); Pen: Gray.

Rotherham Titans – Tries: MacDonald, O’Donnell, Raven; Cons: West (3).

Yellow cards:

Exeter Chiefs – Budgen 76mins.

Attendance:

3,965

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