Match Centre: Leicester Tigers 34-19 Exeter Chiefs

George Ford kicked nine points
George Ford kicked nine points

Leicester Tigers 34-19 Exeter Chiefs, Mattioli Woods Welford Road

Nic Dolly scored two tries as Leicester Tigers went on to complete a 34-19 victory in their opening fixture of the Gallagher Premiership game against Exeter Chiefs at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Saturday.

The game played in front of 17,000 fans and it was George Ford, who struck a third minute penalty goal to start the proceedings.

Newly capped England international Freddie Steward crossed over in the 11th minute after newly appointed Leicester captain Ellis Genge made good gains but Ford's conversion went wide as the scoreline became 8-0.

The response from Exeter came in the 15th minute when they created the space for Don Armand to dot down but Joe Simmonds' first kick of the season drifted wide. Exeter could have added more to their tally but efforts from Jack Maunder and Jack Innard were denied by referee Ian Tempest as the scoreline remained 8-5.

Leicester extended their lead by the 22nd minute when Nemani Nadolo breached Exeter's defence and sent a long pass for Harry Potter to touchdown but Ford missed the conversion making the scoreline 13-5.

With the break approaching, Leicester got their third try when Steward chipped ahead and eventually Matt Scott went over and Ford's conversion meant the home side went into the break with a 15-point lead.

Jack Nowell and Henry Slade looked threatening early in the second half but the England centre was put off by a tackle from Nadolo. Repeated infringements from Leicester saw Harry Wells sin-binned in the 54th minute and a penalty try was awarded to Exeter taking the scoreline to 20-12.

Despite down on numerical advantage, Leicester went on to claim the bonus point by the end of the third quarter when Nic Dolly touched down at the back of a line out and Ford kicked the conversion from wide making it 27-12.

Any chance of a Exeter comeback was put off when Dolly completed his second as he steered his way to the tryline in the left-hand corner and Ford slotted the extras making it 34-12 with Freddie Burns coming out for his second debut. While Burns missed a penalty kick in the 70th minute, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne scored a consolation try for Exeter in the final minute with Harvey Skinner's conversion helped them reducing the losing margin to 15 points.

Team line up:

Leicester: Steward; Potter, Scott, Kelly, Nadolo; Ford, B Youngs; Genge (capt), Dolly, Cole, Wells, Green, Martin, Reffell, Liebenberg

Reserves: T Cowan-Dickie, Van Wyk, Leatigaga, Snyman, Chessum, Van Poortvliet, Burns, Porter

Exeter: Hodge; Nowell, Slade, Devoto, O'Flaherty; J Simmonds (capt), Maunder; Hepburn, Innard, Williams, Witty, Lonsdale, Kirsten, Armand, Tuima

Reserves: Yeandle, Moon, Nixon, McCauley, Tshiunza, Hidalgo-Clyne, Skinner, Hendrickson

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

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