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Ali Hepher sees promise in Exeter's Aviva Premiership defeat of London Irish

Exeter's assistant coach Ali Hepher reflected on a job well done after their six-try 38-11 defeat of London Irish in the Aviva Premiership.

The Chiefs bounced back well from last week's narrow defeat at Bath, moving into second place in the table with this comfortable success in front of their own fans.

Hepher said: "It was important to get back on track at home. We probably let one go last week, and it gets our season up and running so we are really pleased at where we are at.

"There were some good decisions out there - but there is a lot of the game that we can improve as well. It is promising for the future.

"It is tough in games when you get in front and sides in the Premiership come back into the game. London Irish are a good side and they took advantage towards the end. Our forwards had certainly done a good job early doors and that gave us a good platform to get the good win.

"We have good options in midfield which will allow us to look at things through the season. All the boys that have come back from World Cup duty have been chomping at the bit - even Geoff [Parling] who played a lot of minutes.

"He's been ready all week to play and as it is a new club to him, he wants to make his mark. All the lads have jumped straight in and they are easy to manage."

Parling received a tremendous welcome when he came on as a replacement from the 7,130 supporters at Sandy Park - but he lasted just five minutes before leaving the field with a groin strain.

Two of Exeter's six tries came from England wing Jack Nowell in his first start since the World Cup. The first saw him race in from 75 metres but it also showed a lack of match practice as he was chased by London Irish wing Alex Lewington.

Nowell explained: "As Ali said, the World Cup players have been itching to get started because here at Exeter there are no guaranteed positions. Having watched the pre-season games while we've been away, everyone seems to be awesome.

"It was a scary moment to come back and get my chance here. It was obviously positive to get a couple of tries but in the first one I thought that my legs were going to give out - but luckily I got a bit of a hand-off to push on."

London Irish have to look back to February for their last win on the road, when they beat relegated London Welsh.

For much of Saturday's game they were outplayed by the Chiefs leaving new head coach Tom Coventry with a lot to work on.

The former New Zealand Chiefs coach said: "We were disappointing and I thought that Exeter were great. I thought that they were physical, expansive and played a proud performance while we were poor in stages.

"There were times under the goalposts when we held out, 20 phases I think before they squeezed over. There were glimpses of good times there but we weren't good enough to hang in there - which is disappointing."


From Belfast Telegraph