Edge over cham­pi­ons

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Sport | Rugby Union -

on what looked to be a cer­tain tryscor­ing pass from Doll­man to Lachie Turner.

The penalty try brought Ex­eter back to within three points after Ford had landed his sec­ond penalty at the start of the sec­ond half, but it would be as close as they would get.

It was crit­i­cal to Le­ices­ter’s hopes that they re­sponded strongly, and Youngs and Ford kicked as­tutely to run down the clock while Veainu was in the bin.

Yet a trip by Malouf on Turner handed the field po­si­tion to Ex­eter and with Le­ices­ter con­ced­ing a suc­ces­sion of line-out penal­ties, the cham­pi­ons ap­peared to build enough pres­sure for them to take the

lead. But with Kala­ma­foni lead­ing a mas­sive de­fence rear­guard, Le­ices­ter were able to hold firm be­fore May’s stun­ning fin­ish clinched the win.

“Fair play to Le­ices­ter, they forced the killer mo­ments in the game and we didn’t take them.

“That is what de­cides closely-fought games,” said Bax­ter, whose side drop to fourth place in the table.

“We started the game with a lot of in­ten­sity and weath­ered the con­fronta­tion pretty well.

“And in the open­ing quar­ter we were the team look­ing to make the breaks and get on the front foot, and I have to give the guys credit for that.

“But did we pro­duce an 80-minute per­for­mance? Prob­a­bly not.

“One of the first things we said in train­ing was that, after start­ing with a 32-phase play against Wasps, Le­ices­ter would try to con­trol the speed of the break­down area.

“Did we deal with it as well as I would’ve liked? No. Le­ices­ter won that bat­tle.”

On the charge: Jonny May pow­ers past Ex­eter’s tack­lers to score, while Ge­orge Ford (right) kicked bril­liantly

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