Match Centre: Harlequins 40-5 Exeter Chiefs

Cadan Murley scored the opening try for Harlequins
Cadan Murley scored the opening try for Harlequins
©Steve Haag

Harlequins 40-5 Exeter Chiefs, Twickenham Stadium

Harlequins came up with a six-try riot as they trounced Exeter Chiefs 40-5 in the in Big Game 14 of the Gallagher Premiership at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday.

The victory also extended Harlequins' winning streak at the Big Game series to nine as they move to the fifth position in the table while Exeter slip to seventh position.

Harlequins were down to 14 players temporarily in the 5th minute as Josh Bassett was sin-binned for a deliberate knock on but despite that they scored the opening try with as Marcus Smith's chip was collected by Andre Esterhuizen, who in turn sent Cadan Murley over the line in the 10th minute. Smith followed with the conversion to make it 7-0.

After not capitalising on the advantage, Exeter had their turn to be down by a player temporarily with Harvey Skinner yellow carded for a second consecutive game following a head-on-head knock with James Chisholm.

Bassett, who returned from the sin-bin made amends as he raced exposing Exeter's weakness to dot down in the 23rd minute and five minutes later Sam Riley also dived in the corner making it 19-0. The bonus point came in the 31st minute with this time Joe Marchant collecting an inside pass from Smith to score as the Quins completed the opening half with a dominating 26-0 lead.

Exeter showed better response at the start of the second half as they kicked a penalty to the corner and worked their way to score but Skinner missed the conversion to make it 26-5.

Smith missed an opportunity to kick a drop goal in the 53rd minute but they soon returned back to the scoring ways as a grubber kick from Danny Care allowed Joe Marchant to touchdown and Smith improved to make it 33-5.

With 16 minutes left in the game, there was no respite whatsoever for Rob Baxter's men with Stephan Lewies went past Skinner and Joe Simmonds to complete a 40-5 victory for the Quins.

Team line up:

Harlequins: David; Murley, Marchant, Esterhuizen, Bassett; Smith, Care; Marler, Head, Louw, Lamb, Lewies (capt), Kenningham, Chisholm, Lawday.

Reserves: Riley, Baxter, Kerrod, Herbst, Evans, Wallace, Steele, Northmore.

Exeter: Hodge; Nowell (capt), Whitten, Kata, Woodburn; Skinner, S Maunder; Sio, Innard, Williams, Gray, Jenkins, Vermeulen, Tshiunza, S Simmonds.

Reserves: Yeandle, Southworth, Street, Dunn, Ewers, J Maunder, J Simmonds, Hendrickson.

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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