Premiership: Exeter Chiefs 44-24 London Irish

Damian Welch is helped up after scoring his first try against London Irish
Welch has scored eight tries in 35 Premiership appearances for Exeter
Exeter Chiefs (30) 44
Tries: Rimmer, Slade, Welch 2, Armand Pens: Steenson 3 Cons: Steenson 5
London Irish (3) 24
Tries: Cowan 2, Fenby Pen: Geraghty Cons: Geraghty 3

Damian Welch scored two tries as Exeter eased to victory against London Irish.

Exeter led 30-3 at the break, with Carl Rimmer, Welch and Henry Slade grabbing tries, while Gareth Steenson kicked 15 of his 19 points in the first half.

Welch completed his brace to secure a bonus point before Don Armand scored the hosts' fifth try.

Replacement back row Blair Cowan then went in for two tries either side of Andrew Fenby's effort as London Irish added respectability to the scoreline.

Exeter's second successive win at home comes after Newcastle ended a miserable 20-match losing streak at their expense six days earlier.

Defeat is London Irish's fourth and heaviest of the season so far.

Gareth Steenson
Steenson has scored 79 points in six games so far this season

The Chiefs went close to opening the scoring with an early try but Will Chudley was held up on the line after taking a quick-tap penalty 10 metres out.

Steenson and Shane Geraghty then traded penalties, but parity was only fleeting as Rimmer powered in for the first try after having a Chudley pass knocked into his hands. Steenson added the extras, then put Slade in for his third try in three games.

The fly-half teed up another five points, dishing the ball off to England wing Jack Nowell, who shrugged off a few attempted tackles before slipping the ball to Welch to touch down.

Welch then crossed for the first of two scores in two second-half minutes to make the game safe, Nowell showing good footwork to evade the Exiles defence and Armand racing 25 metres to score.

The visitors were reduced to 14 men, with David Paice sin-binned, before they mounted a comeback.

Conway and Fenby grabbed tries while Irish were a man down and Conway got his second in the final minute, but it was not enough as Brian Smith's side lost for the first time on the road this season.

Exeter Chiefs backs coach Ali Hepher: "Our mental approach and preparation for the game was excellent and they have turned it round very quickly in a week.

"Every man stood up and got themselves in the right frame of mind and we know that we are capable of beating a lot of sides if we do that.

"It was pleasing to get the bonus point because we have been on three tries for the past two weeks.

"We applied pressure in the second half and didn't give them a sniff back into the game until the final 10 minutes."

London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith: "We were playing catch-up and we got burnt.

"Fair play to Exeter because they are a very good team and they played the conditions brilliantly.

"They have an outstanding defence and we weren't at the office in the first half defensively - that is disappointing.

"It was a disappointing changing room after the game. The captain is unhappy and I'm unhappy, but we will have to look at the tape of the game.

"Last night we had two boys go down with viral type stuff and by kick off we had five blokes down."

Exeter Chiefs: Dollman; Nowell, Slade, Hill, Jess; Steenson, Chudley; Moon, Yeandle (capt), Francis; Lees, Welch; Ewers, Armand, Waldrom.

Replacements: Taione, Rimmer, Low, Caldwell, Horstmann, Thomas, Whitten, James.

London Irish: Fenby; Lewington, Sheridan, Geraghty, Ojo; Noakes, Steele; Court, Paice, Aulika; Skivington (capt), Sinclair; Low, Guest, Narraway.

Replacements: Stevens, Parr, Cross, Leo, Cowan, O'Leary, Mulchrone, Short.

Attendance: 8,154

Referee: Ian Tempest (RFU).

Top Stories