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Exeter up to fourth after Quins win

Exeter moved up to fourth in the Aviva Premiership table after a 36-13 win over Harlequins at Sandy Park.

The victory was only the Chiefs' second home league win in 2014 and they are now just a point behind Bath ahead of next week's trip to struggling Newcastle while Quins drop to ninth place.

A try from Thomas Waldrom plus 14 points from the boots of Gareth Steenson and Henry Slade helped Exeter into a comfortable 19-6 half-time lead but Quins were back in it thanks to a converted 46th-minute try from Fiji winger Asaeli Tikoirotuma.

However, the visitors, who lost young centre Harry Sloan through injury after just 15 minutes, could not make any more inroads into Exeter's lead and further tries from skipper Jack Yeandle and Slade helped the hosts claim an ultimately convincing victory.

While Quins named an unchanged starting line-up the Chiefs promoted Jack Nowell and full-back Phil Dollman from the bench while Will Chudley came in at scrum-half in place of Haydn Thomas who was ruled out with concussion.

The visitors were quickly on the scoreboard with a penalty through fly-half Ben Botica after just two minutes but the Chiefs replied with long-range kicks from Slade and Steenson to make it 6-3.

Exeter then scored the first of their three tries in the 23rd minute.

The Chiefs made a mess of their lineout on the Quins 22 with the ball taken at the back by hooker Dave Ward, but the ball went loose when he was tackled by Waldrom. The England number eight then hacked on, caught the ball on the bounce to go over the line.

Steenson added the extras to give the Chiefs a 13-3 lead before New Zealand-born Botica saw a 30-metre penalty attempt hit the near upright. However, he found his mark again to reduce the arrears from the other side of the field.

Slade cancelled it out from the left touchline and then Steenson added his second penalty from the right touchline to give the Chiefs a well deserved 13-point advantage with the last play of the half.

Harlequins had a touchdown from full-back Mike Brown ruled out for a knock on by TMO Geoff Warren after the restart but they kept the pressure on and reduced the arrears with Tikoirotuma powering over the line. Botica added the simple conversion.

Quins then received a further boost when Nowell, in his first start since he injured a shoulder during Exeter's defeat at Leicester last March, was sent to the sin-bin when he turned his back when going up for a high ball against Brown.

That incident happened 16 minutes from time with the Chiefs 22-13 ahead, but Quins could not take advantage and Steenson increased the home side's lead with his third penalty.

Slade missed with another chance but Exeter further increased their lead as Steenson's chip across field was collected by Dollman who, when tackled, had hooker Yeandle up in support to cross for Exeter's second try, converted by Steenson.

Exeter continued to push on as they searched for a third try and they got it with four minutes left when replacement Tim James gave a long pass out wide to Slade, who raced to the line before Steenson added the extras.


From Belfast Telegraph