Chiefs thrash Gloucester to book play-off spot
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Exeter Chiefs booked their place in the semifinals of the Premiership with a 46-10 victory over Gloucester at Sandy Park.
Alec Hepburn, Sam Simmonds and Olly Woodburn all went over in the first 40 minutes for the Chiefs as they led 22-3 at the break.
Callum Braley pulled one back for the Cherry & Whites but two scores for replacement Jack Nowell and a late try for Gareth Steenson sealed the victory for Exeter.
Owen Williams had given Gloucester an early 3-0 lead from the tee but Exeter were soon on the front foot with Lachie Turner's break nearly sending Don Armand over.
The Chiefs took the lead on 17 minutes as Hepburn picked and went from close range, spinning out of the Gloucester tackles to touch down.
England’s Simmonds added a second just minutes later as the Chiefs pack forced a driving maul to the tryline with the No.8 able to dot down for 12-3.
And with Ruan Ackermann sent to the sin bin, Woodburn found space to dart through for his 24th Exeter Chiefs try as the hosts went into the break 22-3 to the good.
The Cherry & Whites pulled a score back when Mark Atkinson gave a show and go before sending Braley in for a simple score.
But Joe Simmonds' second penalty restores Chiefs' 19-point advantage before replacement Nowell then scored twice in a matter of minutes.
First, the Exeter Chiefs sucked in the visiting defence leaving space out wide for wing Nowell, in his first appearance of 2018, to dive over.
His second was all of his own making as the British & Irish Lion burst through a Henry Trinder tackle to run clear and dot down once again.
Steenson rounded off the victory, with the Chiefs' sixth try, as he latched onto a loose ball from the visitors to run beneath the posts.
For Exeter Chiefs:
Tries: Hepburn, Simmonds, Woodburn, Nowell 2, Steenson
Cons: Simmonds 5
Pens: Simmonds 2
Yellow card: Ruan Ackermann (Gloucester, 37)
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Lachie Turner, 14 Ian Whitten, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Nic White, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Don Armand (captain), 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Sam Skinner, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Alec Hepburn.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Mitch Lees, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Stu Townsend, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Jack Nowell.
Gloucester: 15 Tom Hudson, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Tom Marshall, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Willi Heinz (captain), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Lewis Ludlow, 6 Ruan Ackermann, 5 Ed Slater, 4 Tom Savage, 3 John Afoa, 2 James Hanson, 1 Josh Hohneck.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Jake Polledri, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Billy Twelvetrees.
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant Referees: Greg Macdonald & Paul Dix.
TMO: Claire Hodnett.