Exeter Chiefs 22-19 Harlequins, Sandy Park
Exeter Chiefs overcame a double from Gabriel Ibitoye as they went on to beat Harlequins 22-19 in the opening round of the Gallagher Premiership at Sandy Park on Saturday.
Marcus Smith kick-started the proceedings for Harlequins with an eighth-minute penalty goal that was negated by Joe Simmonds' three-pointer 17 minutes later.
The Quins seized the lead back when Ibitoye crossed over for the first time around the half-hour mark but it was short-lived as Exeter responded with a touchdown from Jonny Hill and Simmonds kicked the conversion to make the scoreline 10-8. As the half-time was approaching, both the fly-halves traded penalties as the teams went into the break with a 13-11 scoreline.
Harlequins were quick to get off the block in the second half with Smith's penalty kick but Simmonds put Rob Baxter's men in control with three straight three-pointers that provided them with an eight-point lead. Even though Harlequins provided a scare with a 74th try from Ibitoye, Exeter held their nerve to ensure they sealed a three-point victory.
"At first I was just sticking around Martin [ Landajo] becasue he is a live wire and you can expect the ball anytime," said Harlequins' Ibitoye.
"Once he gave me the ball I just had to make the most of it to help the team and for the second one that was all Dombrandt - I knew he was going to offload.
"We've got to keep working hard on and off the field and hopefully the boys can keep doing the hard work on the inside to create the space on the outside."
Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the world...it can only be the Gallagher Premiership.
12 teams compete in the league over a season, playing every team both home and away, before four move into the playoffs and one is relegated.
The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?
At Talking Rugby Union, we aim to provide match reports and news together with our specially commissioned features and interviews.