Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Gloucester edge out Exeter

Charlie Sharples, pictured, scored for Gloucester as they beat Exeter 14-13 on Saturday

Gloucester leapfrogged Exeter to move up to eighth in the Aviva Premiership standings as they claimed a 14-13 win at Sandy Park - but the Chiefs left with a valuable losing bonus point.

The opening 40 minutes had few memorable moments as Exeter went in at half time 8-6 ahead after a try from wing Matt Jess and a Henry Slade penalty, with Gloucester's reply being two Rob Cook penalties.

Gloucester took an early grip on the second half with Cook's third penalty before he gave the final pass for Charlie Sharples to cross out wide.

Exeter came back in the final minutes, against 13 men, through a Don Armand try - but could not convert it to claim victory.

With just four more games to go in the regular season, both clubs had their sights on a late push towards the top six and possible inclusion in the top level of European rugby next season - whatever format is finally decided.

Gloucester looked to have scored early on with a try in the corner from full-back Cook but referee Matt Carley consulted television match official Geoff Warren, who confirmed there had been a knock-on and Exeter were able to clear their line from the resulting scrum.

The home side got the first points on the board when Jimmy Cowan was penalised for not following away to the tackle and fly-half Slade stepped-up to slot the 15-metre kick from in front of the posts.

Cook levelled the scores just before the mid-point of the half from outside on the left after Exeter dropped their front row. The hosts' scrum came under pressure eight minutes before the break and Cook's second penalty put Gloucester ahead.

Exeter responded immediately with Jess shrugging off a couple of tackles to squeeze over the line in the corner for his first try of the season but Slade was unable to add the touchline conversion to leave the Chiefs 8-6 ahead at the break.

Gloucester regained the lead five minutes after the restart through Cook's third penalty, which was quickly followed up with a try from an overlap as Mike Tindall and Cook linked up to put wing Sharples through in corner.

Cook was off target with the conversion and a penalty attempt in the final quarter in a frustrating afternoon for the Chiefs.

Exeter kept pressing with a couple of overlaps but replacement fly-half Gareth Steenson stopped a metre short of the line, allowing the visitors to clear their lines and mount an attack of their own.

It was a tense final 10 minutes as Exeter looked for a second try to take the game as Gloucester gave away unnecessary penalties. Steenson took a tap at the first before the replacement failed to find touch with the second.

Gloucester were forced to play the final minutes with replacement prop Sila Puafisi and flanker Sione Kalamafoni in the sin-bin for silly infringements. Cook was then sacrificed when Nick Wood had to return to the action.

Exeter, with 15 men on the pitch against 13-man Gloucester, drove over the line with replacement Armand claiming the touchdown - but Steenson's conversion attempt strayed wide of the far upright to leave the Cherry and Whites with victory.

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