Match Centre: Gallagher Premiership: Exeter Chiefs 58-26 Harlequins

Henry Slade scored the opening try for Exeter
Henry Slade scored the opening try for Exeter

Exeter Chiefs 58-26 Harlequins, Sandy Park

Exeter Chiefs kept their hope of play-off alive as Exeter Chiefs defeated Harlequins 58-26 in the 17th round of the Gallagher Premiership at Sandy Park on Saturday.

The result has taken to Exeter Chiefs to 50 points and they are now just two behind fourth placed Sale Sharks and five behind third positioned Bath Rugby. Harlequins are also on 50 points but have moved down to sixth due to an inferior point difference.

Harlequins got off to a terrific start as Marcus Smith sent a dummy to breach Exeter defence as he ran through over the line for the opening try in the first minute and also followed with the conversion to make it 0-7 before Rob Baxter's responded in the 18th minute with Henry Slade diving from close range. Slade also kicked the extras to level the scores by the end of the opening quarter.

The Quins seized the lead back in the 26th minute when Tyrone Green capitalised on a delayed pass from to crossover but his effort was cancelled out with Immanuel Feyi-Waboso touching down for the hosts in the 31st minute as the scores were levelled once again at 14-14.

The end of the opening half saw Alex Dombrandt and Dan John exchange tries as the teams completed the opening half unseparated with a 21-21 scoreline.

Exeter were the quickest to get off the block in the second half as Harvey Skinner dived over from the ruck and Slade improved it to complete a bonus point but shortly they were reduced to 14 players temporarily with Jacques Vermeulen sin-binned for a ruck infringement.

Slade with three straight penalties extended Exeter's lead to 37-21 and in the 64th minute Feyi-Waboso collected a loose ball to score their fifth try and Slade's conversion made it to 44-21. The 50-point mark was breached when Harvey Skinner dived from close range before Dafydd Jenkins and Louis Lynagh traded tries in the final 10 minutes to allow Baxter's men complete a 28 point victory.

Team line up:

Exeter: John; Feyi-Waboso, Slade, Hawkins, Woodburn; Skinner, Cairns; Sio, Yeandle, Street, Dunne, Jenkins (capt), Roots, Vermeulen, Fisilau.

Reserves: Norey, Keast, Painter, Tshiunza, Vintcent, Armstrong, Haydon-Wood, Wimbush.

Harlequins: Green; Lynagh, Beard, Northmore, Murley; Smith, Porter; Marler, Walker, Collier, Herbs, Lewies (capt), Cunningham-South, Chisholm, Dombrandt.

Reserves: Riley, Baxter, Lewis, Hammond, Kenningham, W Evans, Care, J Evans.

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the can only be the Gallagher Premiership.

The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?

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