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Exeter Chiefs keep play-off hopes alive with bonus-point win

Exeter Chiefs score 30 unanswered second-half points to secure a vital bonus-point victory over Harlequins

Braces from Immanuel Feyi-Waboso and Harvey Skinner, alongside other scores from Henry Slade and Dan John ensured Exeter kept their play-off hopes alive going into the final round of the season.

Harlequins got off to the perfect start, as Marcus Smith crossed after two minutes. A clever dummy from the fly-half opened a gap in the Chiefs defence, and he scampered through to score.

Exeter responded well, and dominated much of the next 20 minutes. Clever defensive work from Quins denied them chance after chance, but spots of ill-discipline kept Exeter in their 22.

The pressure eventually took its toll, Henry Slade went over from short range to pull his side level.

Exeter Chiefs fullback Dan John-Credit: IMAGO

In a similar tone, a string of Exeter ill-discipline gave Harlequins a foothold into the game, and it eventually led to Tyrone Green notching his sides second try of the game. A delayed pass from Jarrod Evans created a gap in the Exeter line, and he connected with the red-hot fullback to send him scampering home for the try.

Trench warfare ensued, as both teams tried to find their normal levels of accuracy. Ironically though, it was an error that led to the next try.

A typical jinky run from Marcus Smith threatened to unlock the Exeter defence, however his offload out of the tackle couldn’t find Quins hands, and Exeter’s man of the moment Immanuel Feyi-Waboso reacted quickest to scoop up the ball and dive under the sticks.

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso scores Exeter’s second try-Credit: IMAGO

Yet more ill-discipline helped Quins restore their lead. A clever turnover from Luke Northmore earned an initial penalty, but some backchat from Exeter gifted Quins a further 10 meters. They quickly rubbed salt into this wound, as Alex Dombrandt crashed over from short range from the resulting lineout maul.

On the stroke of half-time, Dan John reaped the rewards of a fantastic Greg Fisilau break to pull his side level.

Exeter run riot in the second-half to secure bonus-point win

Exeter’s momentum continued after the break. Good carries from John, Zach Wimbush and Jacques Vermeulen marched the Chiefs up to within five meters of the Quins line, but Harvey Skinner channelled his inner forward as he powered (yes, powered) over from close range.

Harvey Skinner scores Exeter’s fourth try-Credit: IMAGO

The Chiefs again piled the pressure on Harlequins, but clever work from Stephen Lewies stopped the attack in its tracks.

Things quickly took a sour turn for the Chiefs though. A yellow card to Jacques Vermeulen gifted Harlequins numerical advantage.

Exeter dealt with this period well, and actually extended their lead by six points through Slade’s boot.

Now restored to full numbers, Exeter delivered the killer blow. Slade added three more to his haul from the tee, but Feyi-Waboso’s second try of the match looked to kill any chance of a comeback for Quins, as he barrelled his way through three defenders to score.

Not to be outdone, Skinner also completed his brace, in a more traditional backs try. The fly-half threw a cheeky dummy to create a gap in the Quins defence, and he wiggled through to score.

Henry Slade kicked 9/9 from the tee for Exeter Chiefs-Credit: IMAGO

With the clock winding down, skipper Dafydd Jenkins completed the rout as he went over from close range.

There was one final hurrah from Harlequins, as Louis Lynagh dived over in acrobatic fashion to grab them a pivotal bonus-point try.

Exeter Chiefs 58-26 Harlequins

Exeter Chiefs: 58

Tries: Slade, Feyi-Waboso (2), John, Skinner (2), Jenkins

Conversions: Slade (6/6), Skinner (1/1)

Penalties: Slade (3/3)

Harlequins: 28

Tries: Smith, Green, Dombrandt, Lynagh

Conversions: Smith (3/4)