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Luke Pearce marches Saracens back 20 metres over Vunipola backchat

By Ian Cameron
Billy Vunipola chats back to Luke Pearce /BT Sport

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Referee Luke Pearce showed he wasn’t in the mood for backchat back during the eagerly anticipated Exeter Chiefs – Saracens clash at Sandy Park this afternoon.

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Pearce marched Saracens back a total of 20 metres following two consecutive exchanges between him and Billy Vunipola, stamping his authority on proceedings in the 23rd minute of the contest, following comments from Saracens No.8.

The ref mic then picked up Pearce telling Alex Goode: “That player has an option. If he does it again, he’s gone [pointing towards Vunipola].”

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Judging by Vunipola’s angry reaction to teammate Jackson Wray after the telling off from Pearce, it clearly didn’t land too well with the former England forward.

It’s the second significant telling-off by an international referee this weekend, with South Africa’s Jaco Peyper giving a joint tongue lashing to Bismark du Plessis and Bongi Mbonambi after the pair fired up in their URC derby in Durban.

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Exeter Chiefs have won their last four home games against Saracens, after winning just two of their previous seven such matches in the Premiership.

Saracens have lost just one of their last nine games in the Premiership, however, that sole defeat came on the road; they’ve averaged 36 points per game during that run.

Saracens are undefeated in their last six games, their longest unbeaten run in the league since March – December 2018 when they won 16 consecutive games.

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