James Short weighs in with hat-trick of tries as Exeter ease past Worcester
James Short grabbed a hat-trick of tries as Exeter kept their unbeaten record against Worcester in the Premiership with a 48-32 success at Sixways.
It was Exeter's tenth consecutive win over the Warriors and it came despite them trailing 18-14 during the first half.
The sin-binning of Worcester's Alafoti Faosiliva in the 43rd minute proved pivotal turning the game firmly Exeter's way.
As well as Short's hat-trick, Olly Woodburn, Gareth Steenson, Carl Rimmer and Michele Campagnaro also claimed a try apiece. Henry Slade converted three with Steenson adding a penalty and two conversions.
Bryce Heem, Josh Adams, Jackson Willison and Perry Humphreys scored Worcester's tries with Ryan Mills converting two and kicking two penalties. Ryan Lamb converted the last try.
Worcester made a blistering start to take the lead after only three minutes. Francois Hougaard and Bryce Heem combined well to put the visitors' defence on the back foot before excellent ball retention and accurate passing created the opening try for Adams.
The Chiefs' response was swift. After a strong run down the left flank from Short, Steenson dummied through a hole in the Warriors' defence before running 30 metres to score.
Steenson's conversion levelled the scores before a penalty from Mills put the home side back in front.
The opening quarter was breathtaking with only two scrums and two line-outs and it was Worcester who extended their lead when another strong run from Heem paved the way for Humphreys to cross on the opposite flank.
Mills missed the conversion and a subsequent penalty but his side still led 15-7 at the end of a hectic first 20 minutes.
Exeter came right back into contention with their second try. A threatening run from Michele Campagnaro took his side into the home 22 before a floated pass from Phil Dollman sent Short over in the corner.
Short blotted his copybook by conceding a penalty for not releasing but Mills could not capitalise as his wide-angled kick went wide.
However another penalty for a scrum offence gave Mills another chance and this time he was on target but Steenson soon nullified this with his first penalty to leave Exeter trailing 18-17 at the interval.
Three minutes after the restart, Worcester suffered a big blow when No 8 Faosiliva was yellow carded for an off the ball tackle and Exeter immediately capitalised when Steenson sent Woodburn over
It soon got worse for Worcester as they conceded another try. Sam Simmonds powered past Donncha O'Callaghan and, with the home defence in disarray, Short strolled past a couple of defenders to score.
Exeter suffered an injury setback when Steenson limped off to be replaced by Ian Whitten with Slade switching to fly-half.
With Faosiliva still in the sin-bin, Chiefs scored a third try in his absence when Rimmer finished off a driving line-out with Slade's conversion giving Exeter a commanding 36-18 lead.
Faosiliva returned in time to see Heem earn his reward for a brave effort with a try and Campagnaro and Short crossed for late tries to emphasise Exeter's second-half superiority.
With the last movement of the match, Willison earned Worcester a merited bonus point with the home side's fourth try.