Exeter win at Gloucester to maintain play-off hopes

Home » Exeter win at Gloucester to maintain play-off hopes

Gloucester: (10) 17

Tries: May, Clement, Clark Con: Atkinson

Exeter: (24) 38

Tries: Vermeulen 2, John, Woodburn, Feyi-Waboso Pen: Slade Cons: Slade 5

Exeter kept themselves in contention for the Premiership play-offs and closed the gap to the top four with a bonus-point 38-17 win at Gloucester.

Jacques Vermeulen, Dan John and Olly Woodburn scored in a dominant first half from Exeter, as Jonny May and Jack Clement replied for Gloucester.

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso added the crucial bonus-point try and while Arthur Clark replied during a spell on top for Gloucester, Vermeulen got a second to take the game away from the hosts.

Exeter stay seventh but closed the gap to fourth-placed Bristol to four points, with two games left to play.

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The Chiefs knew anything but a bonus-point win would realistically mean they missed the play-offs for the second campaign running and they took advantage of Gloucester’s ill-discipline during the opening 20 minutes.

Henry Slade kicked the first three points and Vermeulen powered over from a driving maul after a penalty was kicked to the corner.

Soon after, full-back John ran in the first Premiership try of his career to make it 17-0.

Gloucester did respond after flanker Clement won a turnover to gift the Cherry and Whites a five-metre line-out, and May clawed a try back days after he said it was “unlikely” he would be at the club next season.

Still Exeter’s attack was far more formidable and while Feyi-Waboso dropped the ball over the line under a tackle, Woodburn did not falter shortly after.

Slade drifted through a gap in the Gloucester defence and put Woodburn through to cross in the corner and stretch the lead to 24-5.

But, for the second time, an Exeter error with a loose line-out handed Gloucester an opening and Clement ran through a gap to pull another back right on half-time.

Feyi-Waboso scored the crucial fourth try to give Chiefs an extra point early in the second half as a long ball over the top from Harvey Skinner gave the England back the overlap on the wing.

Still, Exeter could not afford to be content with their healthy lead as Clark charged down a kick for the second time and ran straight into space to pull another try back, with Charlie Atkinson adding the conversion to close the gap to 14 points with 30 minutes remaining.

Having seen winger Jake Morris miss out on a try earlier due to a foot in touch, Gloucester came within inches again as Skinner recovered brilliantly to deny Stephen Varney in sight of the tryline.

Exeter nerves settled when Vermeulen stretched over to score their fifth of the afternoon and condemn Gloucester to a second consecutive Premiership defeat with their European Challenge Cup semi-final against Benetton to come next week.

Gloucester director of rugby George Skivington told Radio Gloucestershire:

“Very disappointed. I don’t think we were there today, I don’t think everybody was 100% on it.

“We talked about that in the week, we knew there was a risk of what’s coming next week [Challenge Cup semi-final] creeping into our mindset and obviously Exeter being extremely hungry to get to the top four but I don’t think we achieved what we set out to achieve.

“They were more clinical and I think in the first half every bobble ball Exeter got on it and we didn’t. There was opportunities in the first half to keep them under real pressure and I think you could see Exeter had a different intensity to us.”

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told Radio Devon:

“I’m just so pleased the players understood the message we’re trying to give them and today was that thick and frantic and to-and-fro for a while, but if we made mistakes today I think we made them doing what we said we were going to do, and you can kind of live with that.

“We were getting the ball up at breakdowns, we were keeping tempo in the game, we stayed in their faces for most of the game. Yes we made some errors which led to them scoring some tries, but our errors were execution errors.”

Gloucester: Morris; May, Harris, Llewellyn, Thorley; Atkinson, Varney; Ford-Robinson, Blake, Gotovtsev, Clarke, Clark, Ackermann, Clement, Mercer (c)

Replacements: Socino, Vivas, Knight, Thomas, Ludlow, Chapman, Englefield, Hillman-Cooper

Exeter: John; Feyi-Waboso, Slade, Hawkins, Woodburn; Skinner, Cairns; Sio, Yeandle, Street, Dunne, Jenkins (c), Roots, Vermeulen, Fisilau.

Replacements: Norey, Southworth, Painter, Tshiunza, Vintcent, Armstrong, Haydon-Wood, Wimbush

Referee: Christophe Ridley

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