Harlequins 29 Exeter Chiefs 15: Match report – Exe defeated in first Anglo-Welsh Cup game
An experimental Exeter Chiefs side fell to defeat in their maiden Anglo-Welsh Cup match of the season against Harlequins at The Stoop on Saturday.
Aaron Morris, Charlie Walker and Luc Jones tries, plus 14 points from the boot of Nick Evans, condemned Exe to defeat.
James Short and Elvis Taione did dot down for the visitors, while Joe Simmonds kicked a penalty and a conversion.
Exeter fielded a side including Dave Ewers and Phil Dollman – back after long-term a knee and hand injuries respectively – plus Ben White and Tom Johnson. Youngster Jack Maunder captained the side for the first time.
But despite a relatively even opening 40, Quins ran away with it in the final 20 to secure the win.
In a tight first half which saw little to choose between the two sides, Quins’ six-point lead was testament to their ability to leave Exeter’s half with points when they had sustained pressure.
Evans booted them ahead after six minutes with a penalty after steady pressure.
Controversy then followed as Will Hooley – who was perhaps lucky to escape yellow after taking out Alofa Alofa without the ball – was flattened by a high shot from Mat Luamanu.
The Quins No. 8 was sin-binned, but Exe could not make the pressure pay as Jonny Hill was held up over the line.
Exeter then conceded a well-worked try from Morris. Walker ran an excellent line to slice open the defence, before feeding the Harlequins full-back to finish off the move he started.
Two minutes later, the Chiefs finally bagged their first points of the game as Short raced over down the touchline – despite incorrect appeals for a foot in touch – after some neat passes down the touchline.
The first half was an evenly-matched affair by this point as both sides sought the initiative, but it was the hosts who found it with two Evans penalties to make it 11-5 at the break.
And it was the London side who made the better start after half-time. First, Morris spilled the ball on the tryline to miss out on a simple score, but the pressure soon told as Evans booted a scrum penalty for 14-5.
Exe hit straight back as Simmonds booted a penalty themselves, and they surged ahead when Taione rolled over from close range just three minutes after coming on. Simmonds kicked the conversion for 15-14.
But Taione went from hero to villain as he was then shown the yellow card with 20 minutes left for deliberate offside. Evans kicked the penalty from in front of the sticks to restore Quins’ lead.
And – unlike Exeter in the opening period – they built on their numerical advantage as Evans’ neat inside pass set Walker through for a well-worked score.
And Harlequins made sure of things as Walker set up Jones to dot down under the posts, with Evans converting.
Harlequins: Morris; Walker, Marchant (Jones, HT), Lang, Alofa (R Chisholm, 2, Jackson, HT); N Evans, Mulchrone; Lambert (Piper, 76), Gray (O Evans, 76), Collier (Jackson, 76), South (Reddish, HT), Matthews, J Chisholm (Naoupu, 76), Ward, Luamanu
Yellow card: Luamanu
Scorers, tries: Morris, Walker, Jones. Cons: Evans Pens: Evans (4)
Exeter Chiefs: Dollman (Strong, 31); Bodilly, Devoto, S Hill (Townsend, 73), Short; Hooley (Simmonds, 8), Maunder; Moon, Malton (Taione, 50), Holmes (Low, 59), Atkins (Welch, 53), J Hill, Ewers (Keast, 65), White (Lawday, 64), Waldrom
Yellow card: Taione
Scorers, tries: Short, Taione Cons: Simmonds Pens: Simmonds
Referee: Craig Evans. Attendance: 8000