Exeter 19-26 Wasps: Premiership leaders staggered when visitors fight back 12-0 down to claim the first win at Sandy Park and reduce relegation anxiety
Exeter suffered their first home base for a Gallagher Premiership defeat since February 1 last year when Wasps claimed a runaway victory among runaway leaders.
Rob Baxter & # 39; s Chiefs dominated the first half hour, but couldn't find a way beyond Wasps & # 39; power and clinical lead when the visitors claimed a bonus point success.
The English star Jack Nowell – who wore a new sponsored scrumpet with multiple logos for this meeting – gave Exeter the lead and Nic White helped it to 12-0.
Exeter: Cordero (Whitten 18); Nowell (Hill 63), Slade, Devoto, Woodburn; Simmonds, White (Maunder); Moon (Hepburn 49), Cowan-Dickie (Yeandle 49), Francis (Williams 49), Lonsdale, Atkins, Ewers (Capstick 63), Armand, Kvesic
Replacement not used: salmon
Attempts: Nowell 7, White 22, Yeandle 69
con: Simmonds 22, 70
wasps: Le roux; Watson, Daly, Lovobalavu, Bassett (De Jongh 35-41); Sopoaga, Simpson; Zhvania (McIntyre 63), Cruse (Johnson 10), Cooper-Wooley (Brookes 45), Launchbury (Morris 71), Gaskell (Rowlands 58), Shields, Carr, Hughes
Replacements not used: Hampson, Miller
Attempts: Le Roux 31, De Jongh 36, Watson 41, Zhvania 61
con: Daly 33, Sopoaga 38, 41
Referee: Luke Pearce (RFU)
But after that, the hosts were not entirely themselves and Wasps returned from a silent start to score four attempts with No. 8 Nathan Hughes who produced an impressive screen.
Extended scores came from Willie Le Roux, Juan De Jongh, Marcus Watson and a crucial effort from the second half by Zurabi Zhvania. Exeter moved on late and Jack Yeandle got one back, but that wasn't enough. Sandy Park was bursting, despite a bitterly cold and windy afternoon.
The conditions for a scrappy opening and the first few scrums were a mess. With the stiff breeze causing problems for both sides, it was no surprise that Elliot Daly kicked the ball.
Exeter struck from there. Henry Slade threw a thorn around and Nowell jumped up when Weser's defense faltered.
The English wing collected and defeated Le Roux to score in the corner. Joe Simmonds' conversion was inch perfect in terms of line, but he was unhappy with the wind. Still it was all Exeter when Slade found Nowell again with a pass for a basketball style.
The only downside for the Chiefs was an injury to Santiago Cordero, forcing Nowell to play full-back. A rescheduling could not prevent the home team from adding a second attempt when Wasps lost Tom Cruse with an injury. White was the scorer, but it was the forefront of the scrum half who did all the hard work.
This time Simmonds converted. Wasps had not started until then, but they came close to attempting an escape from Le Roux Watson.
The wing flew to the corner, but was tackled by Olly Woodburn and TMO David Rose rightly rejected the score. Wasps could not be denied for the second time and out of the blue they impressed each other impressively to score three attempts in the last nine minutes of the first half. That meant that they continued surprisingly enough to the next break. First Daly brilliantly took the lead and freed Watson.
This time he went to Le Roux which had an easy finish and converted Daly. Hughes then picked up the rear of the scrum, ran ahead and a temporary replacement back. De Jongh was the beneficiary while finishing well under pressure. Lima Sopoaga has curled the conversion between messages in a beautiful way.
Suddenly Exeter was waving and Hughes picked up another scrum – kicked – and Watson jumped on Woodburn all the way at sea. The conversion of Sopoaga made it 21-12 during the break. Nowell suffered an ankle injury at the start of the second half, but the Wasps were now a much more confident side.
After a slow start, Daly was revitalized in an attack and Hughes & # 39; front presence provided a solid platform for his team.
The No. 8 had what would have been a bonus point, try to exclude double movement, but it was now Exeter who did the chase. Zhvania then put the game in bed with Wesp's fourth and a remarkable try in which he traded a one-two with center Gabriele Lovobalavu and reached for the line.
The stylish celebration of the loosehead showed the importance of the score and he was immediately replaced. Sopoaga has missed the conversion.
Exeter grabbed one back through the replacement hooker Yeandle, despite the fact that Nowell eventually left the field and they besieged the Wasps line in the last few minutes. It was an exciting final, but the men in white held out.