Leicester’s head coach Geordan Murphy explained an incident with a fan in the stand at the end of a frustrating game was an apology for his use of bad language.
Exeter have gone a point ahead of Northampton in the Premiership after tries from flanker Don Armand (2) and locks Jannes Kirsten and Jonny Hill plus four conversions and a penalty by fly-half Gareth Steenson saw them home.
Leicester, with a lot of their England World Cup contingent back in action, were excellent in the first period as wing Jonny May scored two tries and flanker Jordan Taufua got one. England fly-half George Ford landed two conversions and a penalty.
But the Tigers did not get a point in the second period as Exeter turned it up a few gears.
Leicester have now won just one of their six Premiership fixtures and lay bottom but one in the table.
It has frustrated a lot of the famous club’s faithful, which spilled over with three minutes left as Murphy was heading to the changing rooms.
He walked back up the stand steps to speak with a fan but said it was only to apologise to him.
Murphy said: “There was nothing more strenuous than that (apology).
“Somebody said something which I agreed with and I swore. I realised there were kids about.”
Leicester’s first 40 minutes was one of their best for a few seasons but they ran out of steam and ideas afterwards.
Murphy explained: “It is difficult against a side like Exeter who have numbers in their line. Things were stacked against us when we were chasing a try for a few bonus points and the rain came in and it made it easier for Exeter to defend.
“I thought there were a lot of good things which we can build on. We scored three tries, started the second half well but switched off for a little bit, a couple of things went Exeter’s way around the 60-minute mark and we were chasing from there.”
Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter believed his side looked “a million dollars” as they battled back from a 19-7 deficit to beat struggling Leicester 31-22 at Welford Road for a fourth Gallagher Premiership victory this season.
Baxter said: “Leicester have a lot of good players and, at half time, the coaches looked at each other and thought we have bumped into them on the day they are going to pull it together.
“That is why I thought we did exceptionally well to stay together under that sort of pressure. Things were going for them and they did have momentum.
“After half time, we just aligned ourselves a little bit more like an Exeter Chiefs team and, as we managed to get used to each other and got back online, we looked a million dollars in the second half.”
Baxter also said that England centre Henry Slade will have a scan on a leg injury which he suffered during the match.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now