Chiefs move to fifth with home win
MATCH REPORT: Josh Hodge inspired Exeter Chiefs to a vital 24-22 victory over second-placed Sale Sharks in a Sandy Park thriller.
Sharks conceded five penalties inside the opening four minutes but Chiefs were unable to punish the visitors.
Tom Roebuck then brought the game to life with a brilliant long-range score after Rob du Preez’s earlier penalty.
Harry Williams brought Chiefs back within three points before Hodge scored the first of his two super scores.
And it was soon three as Hodge’s dancing feet saw him cross the whitewash again as Chiefs took a 21-20 lead into the interval.
But back game Sharks through Ewan Ashman before Sam Dugdale’s score put them a nose in front entering the final quarter.
Harvey Skinner then kicked a match-winning penalty 11 minutes from time as Chiefs held out to go within a point of the top four.
Exeter Chiefs wing Josh Hodge says: “In the Premiership it’s always going to be a tough game with Sharks coming down going for those top four spots but we battled well.
“I’ve had bits of rugby here in the last two years but this one has been a big one for me getting that game time. It’s great to be out here on the pitch and playing well.”
Sale Sharks head coach Alex Sanderson: “There is a lot I’m really proud of. We were 11 points down at half time and that demise was all of our own making.
“I thought we dominated for large parts of that second half. The boys are down now but underneath that is a belief and pride that when their backs were against the wall they galvanised and went back at them.”
Tries: Williams, Hodge 2
Cons: Skinner 3
Tries: Roebuck, Ashman, Dugdale
Cons: Du Preez 2
Pens: Du Preez
Exeter: 15 Josh Hodge, 14 Jack Nowell (captain), 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Solomone Kata, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Harvey Skinner, 9 Sam Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Jack Dunne, 4 Jannes Kirsten, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Innard, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Danny Southworth, 18 Patrick Schickerling, 19 Mike Williams, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Tom Hendrickson.
Sale: 15 Joe Carpenter, 14 Tom Roebuck, 13 Rob du Preez, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 George Ford, 9 Gus Warr, 8 Jean-Luc du Preez, 7 Sam Dugdale, 6 Jono Ross (captain), 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Ewan Ashman, 1 Bevan Rodd.
Replacements: 16 Ethan Caine, 17 Si McIntyre, 18 Nick Schonert, 19 Alex Groves, 20 Josh Beaumont, 21 Raffi Quirke, 22 Sam James, 23 Arron Reed.
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Christophe Ridley, Sara Cox
TMO: Stuart Terheege