Exeter maintain 100% start to Premiership season

Alex Cuthbert scores for Exeter

Gallagher Premiership
Exeter (14) 35
Tries: Cordero, Hill, Maunder, Cuthbert, Lawday Cons: Simmonds 3, Steenson 2
Sale (13) 18
Tries: Yarde, Evans Con: MacGinty Pens: MacGinty 2

Exeter Chiefs scored five tries as they easily saw off Sale Sharks to continue their 100% start to the Premiership campaign.

Tries from Santiago Cordero and Jonny Hill, either side of Marland Yarde’s score at the other end, gave the Chiefs the edge at the break.

Jack Maunder then extended the hosts’ advantage before Bryn Evans went over to reduce the deficit to three points.

Further tries from Alex Cutherbert and Tom Lawday secured Chiefs’ bonus point.

Victory means Exeter have won their opening three games in the top flight for the first time, but they had to make two late changes with Sam Simmonds and Matt Kvesic missing out through illness.

AJ MacGinty kicked the visitors into an early 3-0 lead but Cordero latched on to Joe Simmonds’ pass to claim the first try of the afternoon at the other end.

MacGinty then claimed his second penalty of the afternoon before his chipped pass allowed Yarde to claim his ninth try in 10 Premiership games.

Hill then forced his way over to give Chiefs a one-point advantage at the break and they soon extended their lead to 21-13 as Maunder finished off a slick move after Henry Slade rounded the Sale defence and Simmonds added the extras.

A brawl then saw Hill and Sharks captain Jono Ross handed yellow cards before Evans touched down to bring the visitors back within a score.

But Chiefs then raced to victory with Cuthbert diving over and Lawday completing the scoring from close range, as Gareth Steenson successfully converted both tries.

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon:

“It was a real battle, was never really decided despite what the scoreline looks like and I can’t say we ever felt really comfortable.

“I thought first half we probably lacked a bit of our sharpness and work ethic that we’re really well known for and we questioned that with the lads a little bit at half-time.

“We were better in spells after half-time, looked a little bit more dangerous, and ultimately we came through a tight battle.”

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond:

“It was a better performance than the last two weeks but most sides will struggle down here.

“We created a lot of opportunities, as did they. Our opportunities were much looser than theirs as they relied on the pick and drive and capitalised more than we did.

“They beat us at the breakdown and with their ability to score – one stage in the second half we had an overlap of seven to one but still couldn’t score.”

Exeter: Dollman; Nowell, Slade, Devoto, Cordero; J Simmonds, J Maunder; Moon, Cowan-Dickie, Williams, Atkins, Hill, Armand (capt.), Lonsdale, Lawday.

Replacements: Yeandle, Hepburn, Francis, Salmon, Dennis, S Maunder, Steenson, Cuthbert.

Sin-bin: Hill (56).

Sale: McGuigan; Solomona, S James, Jennings, Yarde; MacGinty, Cliff; Harrison, Neild, John, Evans, Phillips, Ross (capt.), T Curry, Beaumont.

Replacements: Webber, Tarus, Jones, Strauss, B Curry, Warr, L James, Odogwu.

Sin-bin: Ross (56).

Ref: Karl Dickson.

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BBC Sport – Rugby Union

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