High-fly­ing Chiefs cash in another win bonus

The Rugby Paper - - Aviva Premiership - ■ By BREN­DAN GAL­LAGHER

HAR­LEQUINS were given an ob­ject les­son in clin­i­cal fin­ish­ing by Ex­eter, who can’t stop scor­ing tries at pre­sent as they col­lected their sev­enth bonus point win on the bounce.

Quins con­trib­uted mas­sively to one of the most en­ter­tain­ing games of the sea­son, but as fa­tigue set in they started mak­ing too many mis­takes in at­tack and were twice turned over for cru­cial tries at vi­tal times. It wasn’t Quins’ night and they face a mas­sive fight now to qual­ify for the Cham­pi­ons Cup.

On a per­fect night for rugby and both teams in the mood, the first half was an ex­hil­a­rat­ing ex­hi­bi­tion of ad­ven­tur­ous at­tack­ing rugby with ev­ery off-load in the coach­ing man­ual be­ing em­ployed and some that aren’t.

Chiefs at­tacked straight from the kick off but Quins soaked it up and seized on a loose kick from Slade to run the ball back with in­ter­est to cre­ate a promis­ing blind­side from which Danny Care picked out Matt Lua­manu with a sump­tu­ous flat miss pass.

It was mainly Quins in at­tack ini­tially, but Chiefs opened their ac­count with a Slade penalty and it was the fly-half who clev­erly worked an over­lap down the blind­side from 20 yards out. Short was well stopped by Mike Brown but Dave Ew­ers picked up and forced his way over.

Quins still seemed on the front foot but Chiefs were deadly when given any op­por­tu­nity and the next came when Brown missed a high ball, which Short seized on be­fore mak­ing ground across field.

Short then linked with Olly Wood­man who also made good ground be­fore un­pick­ing the Quins de­fence with a de­light­ful around the cor­ner flick which saw Michele Cam­pag­naro step­ping in for a fine con­verted try.

A Nick Evans penalty in the fi­nal minute of the half saw Quins turn around 15First 11 down and shak­ing their heads a lit­tle. They have played a lot worse this sea­son and lead by plenty.

It was Evans who struck for a try straight af­ter the break and af­ter Slade kicked a penalty Quins blew a clear cut chance when the other­wise ex­cel­lent Tim Visser failed to see the over­lap out­side him.

Quins did re­gain the lead through an Evans penalty but, lead­ing 19-18 go­ing into the fi­nal quar­ter, the game be­gan to spi­ral out of con­trol.

Care broke spec­u­la­tively down the blind­side 50 yards out be­fore chip­ping only for Short to gather and pass adroitly to Lachie Turner who was go­ing full pelt. The Aussie chipped the last man, Nick Evans, and swooped for a su­perb try.

Two min­utes later Ex­eter struck again. A mishit box kick from Jack Maun­der, who seemed to pull a mus­cle mid­kick, found grass in mid­field and bounced up oblig­ingly for Slade who chipped skill­fully to gather and score the try that fi­nally put day­light be­tween the two sides.

To sum up Quins’ night from the restart they forced a li­ne­out 5m out and looked cer­tain to score from a rum­ble when Lua­manu got de­tached at the front and was pe­nalised. In the next at­tack Mike Brown threw a wild pass in­field which that man Turner kicked ahead to de­liver the ham­mer blow with his sec­ond try.

Visser scored a splen­didly take try at the death for Quins although it of­fered pre­cious lit­tle con­so­la­tion.

PIC­TURES: Getty Images

Dou­ble de­light: Chiefs full-back Lachie Turner dives over for one of his scores

Vet­eran: Nick Evans breaks away to score

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