Ex­eter tear Ir­ish apart in ex­plo­sive start

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Aviva Premiership - By Alex By­wa­ter at Sandy Park

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.

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