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Exeter keep play-off hopes alive with bonus-point win at rivals

By PA
Immanuel Feyi-Waboso scores against Gloucester at Kingsholm (PA).

Exeter kept alive their Gallagher Premiership play-off hopes by brushing aside West Country rivals Gloucester 38-17 at Kingsholm.

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The Chiefs still have it all to do, lying four points adrift of the top four with only two regular season games left.

But they remained in the mix ahead of remaining fixtures against Harlequins and Leicester through a bonus-point victory orchestrated by England centre Henry Slade.

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Jannes Kirsten speaks fondly about life at Exeter

Bulls forward Jannes Kirsten tells Liam Heagney about how much he enjoyed playing at Exeter Chiefs.

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Jannes Kirsten speaks fondly about life at Exeter

Bulls forward Jannes Kirsten tells Liam Heagney about how much he enjoyed playing at Exeter Chiefs.

Slade’s creative midfield presence caused Gloucester problems all afternoon, while he also kicked a penalty and converted all five of Exeter’s tries from flanker Jacques Vermeulen (two), full-back Dan John and wings Immanuel Feyi-Waboso and Olly Woodburn.

Ninth-placed Gloucester undoubtedly had an eye on next weekend’s European Challenge Cup semi-final appointment with Benetton, and they never seriously threatened Exeter despite tries by wing Jonny May, flanker Jack Clement and lock Arthur Clark, while fly-half Charlie Atkinson added one conversion.

Exeter made the early running and almost went ahead when scrum-half Tom Cairns charged down a kick from his opposite number Stephen Varney, but although Gloucester escaped on that occasion, they fell behind to a 40-metre Slade penalty.

Gloucester then went close through centre Max Llewellyn, but Exeter were quickly back on the front foot and extended their lead after 14 minutes.

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The home side managed to halt a driven lineout, but Exeter stayed patient and Vermeulen went over from close range with Slade adding the conversion.

22m Entries

Avg. Points Scored
1.5
11
Entries
Avg. Points Scored
2.5
14
Entries

Exeter continued moving impressively through the gears, and a second try arrived just four minutes later after Joe Hawkins sent his midfield partner Slade through a huge gap, with John providing the finish.

Slade’s conversion made it 17-0, leaving Gloucester in all kinds of strife until May provided a glimmer of hope for them when he scored a try 11 minutes before the interval.

But Exeter soon reasserted themselves on the contest, cutting open Gloucester’s defence courtesy of Slade’s break, and Woodburn applied the finish.

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Slade converted from the touchline, yet Gloucester had the first-half’s final say when Clement crossed unopposed, reducing Exeter’s lead to 24-10.

Gloucester began the second period brightly through strong attacking work from May and Llewellyn, only to see Exeter regain territorial control and Harvey Skinner’s long pass send an unmarked Feyi-Waboso over to score.

Slade’s immaculate form with the boot continued via a touchline conversion, but after Clark charged down a Cairns clearance to score and Atkinson converted, Gloucester threatened an unlikely fightback.

Gallagher Premiership

P
W
L
D
PF
PA
PD
BP T
BP-7
BP
Total
1
Northampton
16
11
5
0
55
2
Saracens
16
10
6
0
51
3
Bath
16
9
7
0
50
4
Bristol
16
10
6
0
49
5
Harlequins
16
9
7
0
49
6
Sale
16
10
6
0
47
7
Exeter Chiefs
16
9
7
0
45
8
Leicester
16
8
8
0
40
9
Gloucester
16
4
12
0
27
10
Newcastle
16
0
16
0
5

Centre Chris Harris broke clear in midfield and found Varney in support, and it took an outstanding cover tackle from Skinner to deny the Italy international.

It was a warning to the Chiefs, but once again they responded and Vermeulen’s second try, converted by Slade, put considerable daylight between the teams.

Gloucester pushed for their fourth try and a losing bonus point during the closing stages, but Exeter comfortably kept them out as they made it an emphatic case of job done.

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J
Jon 22 minutes ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

> it was apparent Robertson was worried about his lack of experience at half-back, hence the decision to start veteran TJ Perenara and put Finlay Christie, the next most experienced number nine, on the bench. I don’t think it was this at all. It was a general scope he was putting over all the playerbase, he went with this cohesion factor in every position. > If the main priority is to build different tactical elements to the gameplan, then Ratima is the man in whom Robertson needs to trust and promote. This also I think is antagonist towards the reference game plans. The other plans do not need the speed of which Perenara (atleast) can’t provide, and I think personal is going to be the main point of difference between these games/opponents. That is the aspect of which I think most people will struggle to grasp, a horses for course selection policy over the typical ‘Top All Black 15’. That best 15 group of players is going to have to get broken down into categories. So it test one we saw Christie control the game to nullify the English threats out of existence and grind to a win. In test two we saw Ratima need to come on which dictated that this time they would run them off their feet with speed and the space did open up and the victory did come. Horses for courses. The same concepts are going to exist for every group, front row, lock and loose forward balance, midfield, and outside backs all can have positional changes that the players may be asked to accentualize on and develop. There might be some that _it_ will not ever click for, but they’ll hopefully still be getting to enjoy unbelievable comeback victories and late game shutouts to close it down. Knowing does not mean not enjoying.

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W
Wonton 7 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

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