Relentless Exeter Turns On Power To oust Wasps In Thriller | Prime Minister


Exeter rugby manager Rob Baxter had said the game was a chance to accelerate the campaign. His resilient team found a way to win through a relentless and overwhelming display of power in the second half. A generous portion of attacking muscle, a ton of engaged defense and another brilliant display of kicking from Jimmy Gopperth proved insufficient for the Wasps to take anything other than a bonus point.

“I’m pretty drained,” Wasps head coach Lee Blackett said. “Sometimes the amount of effort you put in, you just don’t get the payoff it deserves. The effort was there to see, it just took a win to back it up.

There was only one garish pink headdress visible in the crowd before kick-off, which didn’t seem to bother those in attendance, and the opening was punctuated by a series of fearsome collisions.

After Thomas Young stole possession of Exeter, second row Vaea Fifita almost dashed under the posts, but a simple penalty from Gopperth put the Wasps ahead.

Exeter captain Henry Slade responded with a long-range penalty, before Wasps’ Josh Bassett sent to the sin-bin for a high shoulder. Despite Exeter’s power play, the hosts regained the advantage with another penalty from Gopperth.

But when Jack Nowell cut the inside of the right wing, flanker Dave Ewers gave Jack Maunder a stylish offload and he sent Slade galloping around the corner.

Four minutes later, Argentina’s Facundo Cordero passed Marcus Watson for his team‘s second try.

The Wasps redoubled their efforts to crash on contact and were rewarded when a good hit on a lineout allowed Dan Frost to collapse and Gopperth converted.

At halftime, the Wasps found themselves 20-15 in front after another accomplished short-range practice resulted in Young landing. Gopperth converted again and the home fans walked to their pints at halftime in an upbeat mood.

The Wasps spoiled the second-half restart and Exeter set the tone by squeezing in the 22 hosts, with Jonny Hill, Nowell and Luke Cowan-Dickie all trying to recover.

Exeter kept coming in, the Wasps kept attacking each other, especially a thunderous blow from Jeff Toomaga-Allen that put Cordero back. Exeter walked away with nothing after a phenomenal period of defense.

A scuffle erupted behind the posts just as Wasps hooker Frost became the second home player to be sent to the sin-bin. Cowan-Dickie was then forced to retire with an ankle injury, which looked potentially serious enough to exclude him from the England squad which meet on Monday.

When Hill violated the roster, Gopperth’s penalty increased the Wasps lead to eight.

Cordero soon roared on his own kick to the other end, only for Watson to refuse by diving for the ball.

Exeter came back: Sam Simmonds hit over the line, Slade converted and it was a one-point game.

The Wasps attacked, but a punch allowed Slade to fire a 50/22 tactile sight from deep within his half. Exeter had the lineup duly and when Hill crossed into the opposite corner to put the visitors back in the lead in the 67th minute it was enough for a thrilling victory.

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“We went into safe mode a bit [after taking the lead] and that caused us to lose games last year, big games, ”said Exeter head coach Ali Hepher.

“Mentally, we have to drive the point home… But in the second half, we kept going. He showed real mental resilience to be pushed back by the pressure of the five meters.

“A lot of teams would have folded when they cleared their lines, but when we had our chances later, we were clinical.”


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