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Home > News > Exeter Chiefs come out on top in EDF Semi
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Your News Exeter Chiefs come out on top in EDF Semi
15
MAR

Exeter Chiefs 16 - Nottingham 8

Chiefs made their way to Twickenham by way of a narrow and hard-fought win against quality opposition. Water stood on the west side of the pitch at 3pm, and the rain kept coming, so it was not to be a day for flowing rugby.

Early exchanges were tentative, with both sides trying the high ball without success, although Chiefs lineout started to pressurise the visitors. On 15 minutes, man of the match Lewis Stevenson broke free from a ruck with a storming run well stopped by Andy Savage, but the move ended with another knock-on.

Nottingham took the lead on 20 minutes after a couple of penalties took them within striking distance and a long backs assisted maul took Nick Rouse over. Jackson could not lift the conversion attempt. With the ball hard to hold, the game settled into a pattern of mauls and scrums. The wings waved their arms more in hope than expectation.

Gary Kingdom got three back after a trademark Clive Stuart-Smith tap-penalty move was stopped illegally, but Nottingham stretched their lead with a simple Jackson penalty on 35 minutes after a ruck offence in front of the posts. On 39 minutes, Lee Morley saw yellow after obstructing a ruck on his own line, but Chiefs had to be content with the penalty from blood replacement Tony Yapp instead of a likely try.

A promising long drive from Chiefs started the second half, but eventually James Hanks was penalised for holding on. Exe increased the intensity and after a period of pressure in midfield Kingdom was released on a break into the 22. Two penalties were kicked to touch but the drives were held up. After a full 10 minutes of mauling pressure with brilliant fringe defence by the visitors, Craig Hammond conceded a disputed penalty in front of the posts and Kingdom kicked Chiefs into the lead.

Immediately, the lead was increased when the visitors could not deal with a Stuart-Smith grubber after renewed forward pressure, Jason Luff hacked on and got there first, and Kingdom converted from wide out. This was always going to be the decisive score, although Nottingham came back with increased desperation.

On 78 minutes, Ben Thompson kicked to the corner after Mark Fatialofa had received a lecture for foul play, and it was the Chiefs defending their line as the clock wound down. As a score looked imminent, never say die defending produced a knock-on and a huge sigh of relief in the stands. Still the ball was not cleared until another scrum led to a clearance to halfway from Yapp and the final whistle.

Teams:

Exeter Chiefs Kingdom (Yapp 39-40mins blood); Luff, M Fatialofa, J Fatialofa, Drauniniu; Kelly (Yapp 46mins), Stuart-Smith; Dunlea (Parkes 50mins), Blythe (Jenkins 61mins), Sturgess; Stevenson (Bentley 74mins), Hanks; Slade, Andy Miller (Alan Miller 67mins), Baxter (capt).

Nottingham Jackson; Savage, Smith, Molenaar, Dodge; Thompson, Usasz; Parr (Hopkins 52mins), Duffey (Loney 52mins), Hall; Morley, Rouse (Raven 72mins); Hammond (capt.), Sherriff, Montagu (Stannard 72mins)

Scorers:

Exeter Chiefs Try: Luff; Con: Kingdom; Pens: Kingdom (2), Yapp.

Nottingham Tries: Rouse; Pen: Jackson.

Yellow card:

Nottingham Morley (39 mins)

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