Friday, March 1, 2024

Gallagher Premiership: Exeter Chiefs beat Gloucester in one-point thriller after epic late comeback -Dlight News

Henry Slade scored the all-important penalty to seal a memorable Gallagher Premiership victory at Sandy Park over Gloucester; the victory means Exeter Chiefs continue their excellent home run against their local rivals

Exeter Chiefs players celebrate after Henry Slade kicks the winning penalty during the Gallagher Premiership clash with Gloucester Rugby at Sandy Park

Exeter Chiefs players celebrate after Henry Slade kicks the winning penalty during the Gallagher Premiership clash with Gloucester Rugby at Sandy Park

Exeter Chiefs overcame a nine-point deficit in the final eight minutes to continue their unbeaten run at home, sealing a 25-24 victory with the last kick of the game.

Henry Slade landed a 45-metre penalty with the last kick of the match to secure victory and maintain Gloucester’s miserable record at Sandy Park.

In an error-ridden West Country derby, Gloucester led 24-15 with four minutes remaining, but a late converted try from Stu Townsend and Slade’s late penalty ensured their losing run continued – they have not won a league fixture at Sandy Park since January 2015.

Rusi Tuima, Dafydd Jenkins and Townsend scored Exeter’s tries, with Slade adding two conversions and two penalties.

Jack Clement, Ollie Thorley, Louis Rees-Zammit and Seb Atkinson crossed for the visitors, with George Barton kicking two conversions.

Gloucester suffered an early blow when their No 8, Clement, was sin-binned for a high challenge on Tuima, which placed them under relentless pressure.

The visitors were penned in their own 22, with a score almost inevitable, and it arrived when Tuima forced his way over to give Chiefs an 11th-minute lead.

Clement returned with no further damage to the scoreboard, but his side soon suffered a further setback when flanker Albert Tuisue was forced off with a leg injury.

The first quarter was a stop-start affair with frequent interruptions and Tuima’s converted try was the only score during that largely featureless period.

Gloucester needed a boost and it came in the 22nd minute when Tuima was shown a yellow card for a head-high tackle on George McGuigan, and in the lock’s absence they drew level.

From a line-out deep in home territory, Rees-Zammit tested the defence with a strong burst before Clement exploded through a huge gap to run in under the posts.

Tuima returned in time to see his side regain the lead with a well-created try. An inside pass to Slade saw the centre race 25 metres before providing skipper Jenkins with an easy run-in.

Slade missed the conversion, but the Chiefs still held a deserved 12-7 interval lead.

Neither side threatened the try-line in the first 15 minutes of the second half and it came as some surprise when Gloucester conjured up a decent try as Santi Carreras gave Thorley a scoring opportunity, which the wing took in style.

Barton’s conversion rebounded back off a post so the scores were level at 12-12 going into the final quarter.

Exeter had earlier turned down a kickable penalty, but regained the advantage when Slade was successful from 45 metres after another visiting infringement.

With 14 minutes remaining, Gloucester took the lead for the first time when Rees-Zammit deceived two defenders with his elusiveness and speed to race over.

Three minutes later, Gloucester stunned their opponents by scoring a bonus-point try through Atkinson to reward a sustained period of pressure.

Townsend darted over with four minutes remaining for the hosts, with Slade’s conversion getting them to within two points of the away side.

Slade’s last-gasp penalty snatched victory to keep Exeter’s impressive home record for the season intact.

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