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Home > News > Exeter Chiefs 34 - Coventry 8
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Your News Exeter Chiefs 34 - Coventry 8

This was anything but a standard Chiefs victory. The seven tries were not just scored by backs, but made by pacy and precise back movements. The return of Mark Fatialofa provided added threat in midfield. While the forwards established and maintained dominance to provide the platform, Exeters open style left the visitors struggling from first to last, and the crowd had a treat.

Fans were delighted at the return from injury of Ben Breeze, Brett Sturgess and Fatialofa, and it was the latter who almost immediately got over in the corner but with a foot in touch. Although the first two lineouts produced mistakes, already Gareth Steenson and Fatialofa were cutting through, and another break from the dominant Fatialofa led to a sustained attack which produced a penalty under the posts. Opting for the scrum, Chiefs were turned over.

Then, in the 20th minute, a much reset scrum resulted in a beautifully executed backs move, with Nic Sestaret taking an inside pass from a move left and crossing in the left corner. Steenson missed the conversion narrowly. Despite often looking dangerous, Chiefs were unable to retain the ball for long periods, but another series of phases forced an attacking five metre scrum, from which Breeze crossed for a popular score. Steenson converted.

From the restart, Ronald McLean-Dents kicked a simple penalty for not rolling away. But Breeze was left a simple run-in on the right wing after a succession of forwards punched holes in the Coventry defence, and Steenson converted from the touchline.

Chiefs now looked full of confidence to run through their drills. Clive Stuart-Smith persistently disrupted the Coventry scrum, with Chiefs regaining possession as the visitors were forced to kick. Just on half-time, Steenson was stopped just short after a brilliant break and mazy run.

The second half started like the first. Matt Jess was put away after Breeze fielded a kick on his 22, and Richie Pugh was forced into touch on the line. Richie Baxter brilliantly won a Coventry lineout but Chiefs conceded a penalty. Although we were not seeing sustained play, scores always looked likely, and after James Miller was sent for a rest after blatantly obstructing a tap penalty, another brilliant backs move left Paul McKenzie to show his speed for an outside break to the line and the bonus point, with Steenson adding the conversion.

Five minutes later, Fatialofa was the scorer after another exhibition of quick hands, and Steenson converted. The floodgates looked ready to open, but Pete Drewett made six replacements and some of the momentum was lost. In a rare attack, Coventry mauled over the line with Laurence McGlone credited with the score.

In the last 15 minutes Chiefs played with great freedom, consistently using the pass to find the gaps, and Coventry were hanging on. They continued to defend with spirit and somehow managed to prevent more scoring until the last five minutes, when Jess and McKenzie scored tries after penetrating back-play; Danny Gray converting both.

Teams:

Exeter Chiefs Breeze; Sestaret (Bedford 60mins), McKenzie, Fatialofa, Jess; Steenson (Gray 56mins), Stuart-Smith (Lewsey 56mins); Sturgess (Budgen 52mins), Blythe (Clark 56mins), Andress, Stevenson, Tuohy, Johnson (Skelding 60mins), Pugh, Baxter (capt) (Hayes 60mins)

Coventry Russell; McLean-Dents (Hayes 56mins), Dixon, Sanders, Winter; Dorrian, Jones (Walls 63mins); Ovens (Brits 56mins), Whitehead (Pearl 53 mins), Dugard; Herrington, Lyons (Burgess 51mins); Venter (capt) (Clayton 63mins) Miller, Thomas (McGlone 51mins)

Scorers:

Exeter Chiefs Tries: Sestaret, Breeze (2), McKenzie (2), Fatialofa, Jess ; Cons: Steenson (3), Gray (2).

Coventry Try: McGlone; Pen: McLean-Dents.

Yellow cards:

Coventry Miller (52mins)

Attendance:

4,256

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