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Tomas Francis sees red for Exeter but Chiefs still cruise to victory over Quins

Published 17/09/2016

Luke Cowan-Dickie scored a hat-trick of tries for Exeter
Luke Cowan-Dickie scored a hat-trick of tries for Exeter

Exeter picked up their first league win of the season with a deserved win over Harlequins at Sandy Park but their afternoon was marred by the sending off of replacement prop Tomas Francis for careless use of the boot.

For the first 50 minutes, the Chiefs were in commanding form before falling away in the last quarter. They still scored five tries with hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie scoring a hat-trick. Lachie Turner also crossed twice with Gareth Steenson converting four and adding a penalty.

Rob Buchanan, Danny Care and Charlie Walker scored tries for Quins with Tim Swiel kicking two conversions and two penalties.

It was a second loss for the Quins in their three opening matches with only a narrow win over Premiership newcomers, Bristol, to their name.

A leg injury to promising number eight Jack Clifford, which saw him helped from the field in the second half, compounded a miserable afternoon for Quins.

Mitch Lees was a late withdrawal for the Chiefs with Damian Welch stepping up from the bench to replace him but Exeter soon overcame this setback by taking a lead in the sixth minute.

An excellent run from Don Armand put the visitors' defence on the back foot, which allowed Turner to force his way over from close range.

Steenson missed the conversion before the hosts fumbled the restart and were penalised, which enabled Swiel to put Quins on the scoreboard.

Minutes later, Swiel put his side in front with a second penalty before Exeter bungled a clear-cut opportunity to retake the lead when Ian Whitten failed to deliver the scoring pass to Henry Slade as the wing chose to go it alone and was tackled just short of the line.

It mattered little, as from the resulting line-out a wholly inaccurate throw went straight to Cowan-Dickie, who merely had to fall over the line. Steenson converted before Exeter hit their opponents with a brilliant third try.

The Chiefs burst out of defence and clever play from Olly Woodburn handed a second try to Turner but the visitors remained in contention with a Buchanan try from a driving line-out.

Swiel converted before Exeter picked up their bonus point when Cowan-Dickie drove over for his second try. Steenson converted and kicked a penalty to leave his side with a healthy 29-13 lead at the interval.

After the restart, two lost line-outs from Quins soon allowed the home side to resume their dominance with Cowan-Dickie completing his hat-trick from another driving line-out.

Quins threw on the cavalry with Dave Ward, Will Collier and George Merrick all introduced before Cowan-Dickie departed to rapturous applause from the home crowd.

A raft of substitutions resulted in the game becoming disjointed with Exeter resting on their laurels to give the visitors more possession.

This allowed a try for Care and one for Walker as Quins showed considerable spirit in the final quarter but despite a red card for Francis, they never looked like overhauling the Chiefs.

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