Exeter Chiefs let loose against Worcester Warriors as they condemned the visitors to a fourth successive Premiership loss. The Chiefs seem to have finally turned a corner after a distinctly average start to the Premiership season with a 57-22 thrashing of Worcester at Sandy Park on Saturday. The hosts were in control throughout and will hope their current form can push them up the 1-point gap to the top four.
Exeter started brightly, scoring at a rate of almost a point a minute for the first quarter. Jack Yeandle was driven over before a penalty and a Will Chudley effort from short range made the score 17-0. Worcester did eventually get on the board through a Jamie Shillcock penalty, but Chiefs would have their third try before half time after another close range driving maul was collapsed, leaving the referee no choice but to go under the posts for a penalty try.
The try of the match was scored a few minutes after half-time to make it 31-3 to the Chiefs. Chiefs spread the ball wide only 5 metres from their own line for Ian Whitten to break out. He carried the ball a full 50m before passing to Chudley who drew the last man and gave Olly Woodburn an easy run in from the 22. With the bonus point secured there was a risk the intensity would drop, but this was not to be.
the whole team sparkled on a night where Worcester simply didn’t turn up
Chiefs scored again 6 minutes later as Carl Rimmer crashed over before Thomas Waldrom cut a great line and dotted down to make it 45-3. Finally Worcester managed a try of their own, a lovely break down the left leading to a delicate chip from Jamie Shillcock for Josh Adams to collect. Chiefs hit back, however, as James Short went over in the left corner. Simms’ missed conversion was Exeter’s first missed kick of the day, Gareth Steenson nailing all 7 of his kicks for a 15 point haul including a brilliant, if fortuitous, banana shaped effort from the right touch line.
Having hit 50 points Exeter seemed to step down a gear and allowed Worcester to score 2 more tries, Wynand Olivier and Dewald Potgeiter both crossing either side of Ian Whitten’s deserved try.
Will Chudley took man of the match, but in reality the whole team sparkled on a night where Worcester simply didn’t turn up. Ian Whitten was strong throughout, Olly Woodburn looked dangerous making countless half-breaks, Phil Dollman looked lively before hobbling off after half an hour and his replacement Sam Hill was strong in the carry and made one or two big hits. Joe Simms played well off the bench as did fellow youngster Jack Maunder.
Fans will also be pleased that Dave Ewers continued his return from injury with a bruising 20 minutes off the bench, including a nice offload to set up Whitten for his try and a couple of thunderous tackles.
Ali Hepher was upbeat after the match as he claimed an increase in confidence was the main thing that has brought about the recent run in results. He commented “what we have produced was coming in training… there is a bit of zip on the ball and some excitement too”. The renewed vigour was clear to see in the numerous line breaks the Chiefs made, and if they had taken advantage of Darren Barry’s yellow card after the penalty try they could have really embarrassed the Warriors.
Although still not quite at their best, with three wins on the bounce Chiefs can take great confidence into Friday’s game away at Sale.