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Home > News > EDF Energy Final; Exeter Cheifs 13 - Northampton Saints 24
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Your News EDF Energy Final; Exeter Cheifs 13 - Northampton Saints 24
14
APR

Exeter Chiefs failed to shake off their Twickenham hoodoo as they fell to their fourth cup final defeat at rugbys headquarters at the hands of undefeated league leaders Northampton Saints.

Exeter led midway through the first half and were competitive throughout the contest but ultimately the strength and class of their Premiership bound opponents shone through and took the game away from the Chiefs.

Saints had the lions share of possession in the early stages and were looking to move the ball around at every opportunity. All Black Carlos Spencer enjoyed being back on the big stage and orchestrated the early Northampton pressure. The Chiefs were disrupted early on as Mark Fatialofa limped off with an injury after 16 minutes to be replaced by Tony Yapp. Only moments later, Northampton opened the scoring after a lineout on the Exeter 22 metre line produced quick ball for the backs to move down the line creating space for James Downey to break through the line and put Joe Ansbro over for the try; Bruce Reihana converted atoning for an earlier easy penalty miss.

Exeter bounced back two minutes later after a scorching break by Josh Drauniniu created havoc amongst the covering defence. Exeter kept the ball alive with both James Hanks and Sam Blythe linking superbly with the backs before popping up the ball for Chad Slade to bullock over the try line. Yapp added the extra two points. The try came at a cost for the Chiefs as James Hanks was stretchered off with an injury.

The 3,000-plus travelling Chiefs fans were on their feet again after 21 minutes as Yapp kicked over a lengthy penalty from just inside the Saints half to put the Chiefs into the lead. The Saints still looked dangerous with the ball in hand and very threatening from broken play and it was not long until a flowing move from deep inside their own half saw them sweep the length of the field to create a two on one situation in the left corner from which Paul Diggin could not fail to score. Skipper Reihana failed with the conversion.

Trailing by 15 points to 10 at half-time, the Chiefs were very much in touch with their opponents and had played expansively and forcefully. In the second half, Northampton stepped up the pace and took every opportunity to run Exeter around the pitch. As the Chiefs began to struggle to keep their defensive lines in formation they had to look to disrupt the Saints illegally which was spotted time and again by vigilant referee Mr Doyle. Reihana started to find his kicking form and added three consecutive penalties in a short period midway through the half following Exeter transgressions; the last of which saw Alan Miller go off to the sin-bin moments after taking the field.

Yapp pegged a penalty back for the Chiefs after 64 minutes to give the Exeter faithful hope but as the game moved into the latter stages, the strength of the Northampton side began to dominate proceedings and Exeter struggled to get any possession or territory.

The Exeter defence successfully repelled all that the Saints could throw at them and drove them back time and again but they could not find a way of closing the gap on the scoreboard. The game closed with a fantastic Exeter move off a five-metre lineout that saw the Chiefs camped on the Saints line for the last few minutes but they could not quite create the space to seal the try.

Teams:

Exeter Chiefs Kingdom; Luff, M Fatialofa (Yapp 16mins), J Fatialofa, Drauniniu; Kelly, Stuart-Smith (Barrett 63mins); Parkes (Dunlea 51mins), Blythe (Jenkins 53mins), Sturgess; Stevenson, Hanks (Bentley 20mins); Slade (Johnson 52 mins), Andy Miller (Alan Miller 63mins), Baxter (capt).

Northampton Saints Reihana (capt); Ashton, Ansbro, Downey, Diggin (Myler 69mins); Spencer, Howard (Robinson 65mins); Smith (Tongauiha 65mins), Hartley (Shields 66mins), Stewart (Murray 37mins); Lord, Rae; Easter, Lewitt (Fox 52mins), Hopley (Tupai 65mins).

Scorers:

Exeter Chiefs Try: Slade; Con: Yapp; Pens: Yapp (2).

Northampton Saints Tries: Ansbro, Diggin Con: Reihana; Pens: Reihana (4).

Yellow cards:

Alan Miller (64mins)

Attendance:

59,000

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