Exeter tear Irish apart in explosive start
Exeter bounced back from their opening-day defeat at Gloucester with a comfortable bonus-point victory over London Irish.
Rob Baxter’s defending champions had too much grunt in the tight five for newcomers Irish to deal with and scored three tries before the break. Henry Slade’s effort, a penalty score and a Don Armand effort meant a poor second half made no difference to the overall result. A gritty Irish outfit grabbed a consolation through Alex Lewington, but Olly Woodburn raced 70 metres for the fourth try and Armand’s second completed the scoring.
“I’m delighted with the five points, but more so with the fact we were in complete control for most of the game,” said Exeter director of rugby Baxter.
Exeter started with a bang. Gareth Steenson kicked a penalty, before Sam Simmonds’ bust gave Slade the chance to finish. The conversion went wide and although rain didn’t help the flow of the game, the hosts were dominant.
Irish struggled to escape their half and a driving Chiefs line-out was pulled down by the visitors, leaving referee Craig Maxwell-Keys to award a penalty try. The seven points was added to by a sliding Armand effort as the hosts went into the break 20-0 up. The second period was beyond scrappy. Marshall was lucky to escape a card after clashing with Phil Dollman and Lewington slid over in the corner to put Irish on the board. It failed to stop Exeter finishing strongly, late scores from Woodburn and Armand sending the crowd home happy.
Scoring 3-0 Steenson pen; 8-0 Slade try; 15-0 penalty try; 20-0 Armand try; 23-0 Steenson pen; 23-5 Lewington try; 23-7 Bell con; 28-7 Woodburn try; 30-7 Steenson con; 35-7 Armand try; 37-7 Steenson con. Exeter P Dollman; J Nowell, H Slade(L Turner 64), I Whitten (M Bodily 77), O Woodburn; G Steenson, N White (S Townsend 66); B Moon (C Rimmer 54), J Yeandle (captain, E Taione 64), T Francis (H Williams 54), M Lees (S Skinner 61), J Hill, D Dennis (M Kvesic 64), D Armand, S Simmonds. London Irish T Bell, A Lewington, C Hearn (A Tikoirotuma 69), L McLean, T Ojo; J Marshall, S Steele (B McKibbin 54); D Hobbs-Awoyemi (G Reid 52, D Hobbs-Awoyemi 69), D Paice (captain, D Porecki 52), P Du Plessis (B Franks 52), F Van der Merwe (J McNally 69), S De Chaves, M Coman, B Cowan, O Treviranus (C Gilsenan 56). Referee Craig Maxwell-Keys.