Gloucester 18-16 Exeter

Gloucester (6) 18

  • Pens: Burns 6

Exeter (6) 16

  • Tries: Alcott
  • Cons: Steenson
  • Pens: Steenson 3

England fly-half Freddie Burns kicked all of Gloucester's points as they came from behind to see off Exeter.

Burns fought a battle of the boot with the Chiefs' stand-off Gareth Steenson in the first half as the teams went to the interval with the scores tied.

Gloucester went 12-9 up before Simon Alcott crossed for the only try of the game just shy of the hour.

Steenson converted but, despite missing two second-half shots at goal, Burns stepped up for the winning points.

The clash, in front of a sell-out crowd at Kingsholm, saw fifth-placed Gloucester play sixth in the table with just a point separating the two at kick-off.

The visitors started the better and, after Burns put the Cherry and Whites ahead from 30 metres, the Chiefs struck back twice to go 6-3 ahead.

Baxter laments 'dubious' decisions

Exeter had the better territory and possession of the opening half but the best chance fell to the hosts when Rob Cook's chip over ended with scrum-half Jimmy Cowan being held up over the Chiefs' line.

Play was called back for a penalty, which Burns converted, to tie the scores - which is how they remained to the interval.

Burns struck two more penalties after the teams emerged but Steenson kept up the pressure with a third penalty of his own.

Alcott's try came when he picked up from a ruck and Steenson converted to put his side ahead.

Burns's fifth successful kick made it a one-point game but when Exeter went over the top of a ruck with seven minutes left, the England man was again on song to see the Cherry and Whites to victory.

VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOMS

Gloucester assistant coach Carl Hogg told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

Hogg praises 'resilient' Gloucester

"I thought the resilience and spirit we showed throughout the 88 minutes, especially the last 20, was fantastic and that's been a characteristic of the team all season.

"With 20 minutes to go I thought the character of the side was outstanding, and, with the support of the Shed behind us for, we showed huge endeavour to beat Exeter.

"There was a critical point where we could have folded and could have felt sorry for ourselves but the players we're magnificent.

"Freddie (Burns) from the start of the season has mixed his game up and has a real balance to the game. He understands where the momentum of the game is and I thought he kicked the corners very well."

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon:

"You've seen some relatively dubious refereeing decisions handed out.

"I thought some of them were penalties to us and they ended up being a penalty and three points to Gloucester - those are tough ones to take.

"Because of the closeness of the game, those individual decisions hurt us. But you don't move forward by sitting here and going everything was fine with Exeter's performance and if it was a different referee we would've won the game - we don't do that.

"You can't control the weather, you can't control the officials, but you can control some of the things you do, and we'll look to improve those just that little bit going into the Bath game."

LINE-UPS

Gloucester: Cook; Sharples, Tindall, Twelvetrees, Monahan; Burns, Cowan; Wood, Dawidiuk, Knight, Savage, Hamilton, Kalamafoni, Qera, Morgan.

Replacements: Robson for Cowan (75), Murphy for Wood (58), Edmonds for Dawidiuk (51), James for Savage (51).

Exeter: Arscott; Camacho, Whitten, Shoemark, Jess; Steenson, Thomas; Sturgess, Alcott, Tui, Muldowney, Hanks, Mumm, Scaysbrook, Baxter.

Replacements: Clark for Alcott (62), Rimmer for Tui (58), Hayes for Hanks (61), White for Scaysbrook (75).

Att: 16,500

Ref: Llyr Apgeraint-Roberts (RFU).