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Burns shines in Leicester win

Three Freddie Burns penalties, a conversion and a neat grubber kick through for an Anthony Allen try helped steer Leicester to a 24-20 victory over Exeter at Sandy Park.

The losing bonus-point defeat for the Devon side was their sixth in seven home Premiership matches, but they will take heart from excellent first-half tries from Dave Ewers and Hayden Thomas.

Both teams made successful starts to their respective Aviva Premiership campaigns, with the Tigers winning 36-17 at home to Newcastle Falcons while the Chiefs romped to a 52-0 victory away to newly-promoted London Welsh.

Exeter named an unchanged starting line-up, which meant that England number eight Thomas Waldrom, who scored two tries on his Chiefs debut, came up against his former club. There was one change on the bench where lock Damian Welch replaced flanker Don Armand.

England internationals Mathew Tait, Geoff Parling and Allen returned to the visitors' starting line-up for their first Premiership outing of the season, while hooker Tom Youngs was promoted from the replacements.

Leicester suffered an early setback when wing Vereniki Goneva was sent to the sin-bin by referee JP Doyle after consulting television match official Rowan Kitt. Exeter then took the gamble of kicking to the corner rather than landing three points.

From the line-out the Chiefs drove towards the line but knocked-on. From the second scrum, after the Tigers had slipped their binding, flanker Ewers barged his way over the line and fly-half Gareth Steenson converted.

Back to full strength, Leicester found it difficult to break down the Chiefs' defence but, like the hosts, turned down a penalty attempt. From several phases of play, fly-half Burns put a grubber kick through for Allen to dot down.

Burns converted but Exeter went back up the other end and again turned down three points. They mounted a catch and drive and, after several attempts at getting a try, scrum-half Thomas finally stretched for the line.

Steenson converted before Burns landed two penalties either side of one from his opposite number which left Exeter leading 17-13 after a gripping opening 40 minutes.

Burns reduced the deficit in the first minute of the second period with his third penalty before beginning to pin the Chiefs back deep in their own half. This resulted in scrum-half Ben Youngs scampering over the line to put the visitors ahead for the first time.

With the game going into the final quarter, Exeter were denied a try through flanker Ben White, ruled out by the TMO for a knock-on. Yet despite the setback the Chiefs kept control of the play and took the game to Leicester.

Errors began to creep into the Tigers' game and, with 10 minutes remaining, Steenson landed a 35-metre penalty to reduce Exeter's arrears to a single point.

However, the home side then had Ewers yellow carded and Leicester tested the 14-man Exeter defence, winning a penalty and opting to kick three points off the tee.

And Owen Williams, who had replaced Burns, made no mistake with the boot to wrap up the win.

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