High-flying Chiefs cash in another win bonus
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.
Double delight: Chiefs full-back Lachie Turner dives over for one of his scores
Veteran: Nick Evans breaks away to score