Premiership: Exeter 31-15 Wasps
|Exeter Chiefs: (25) 31|
|Tries: Nowell 2, Waldrom Cons: Steenson 2 Pens: Steenson 4|
|Wasps: (8) 15|
|Tries: Miller, Lindsay Cons: Lozowski Pens: Goode|
Two tries from England winger Jack Nowell helped Exeter to the top of the Premiership with victory over Wasps.
Nowell opened the scoring with Rob Miller replying after Gareth Steenson and Andy Goode exchanged penalties.
Steenson extended the lead with a penalty, before Nowell completed his brace and Tom Waldrom was driven over to give Exeter a 25-8 half-time lead.
Two penalties for Steenson, either side of Tom Lindsay's try for Wasps, meant the Chiefs moved top of the table.
Wasps travelled to the south west in search of their first-ever win at Sandy Park, buoyed by recent victories over Bath and London Welsh.
But Exeter are one of the in-form sides in the Premiership and it took them just three minutes to open their account, winger Nowell on hand to profit from Will Chudley's half-break.
Steenson added the extras and traded penalties with his opposite number Goode, before Wasps showed how dangerous they can be with ball in hand.
Number eight Nathan Hughes's quick tap led to full-back Miller making the most of an overlap to cross in the corner.
Goode failed with the difficult conversion and the hosts hit back through a second Steenson penalty and a moment of magic from Nowell, who skipped past two defenders to double his tally.
Skipper Dean Mumm's decision to kick a penalty to the corner was vindicated when Waldrom was driven over to notch his seventh try of the season and Steenson's conversion meant the home side led 25-8 at the break.
In the second half, the visiting pack started to dominate and home prop Tomas Francis saw yellow after a number of collapsed scrums.
Wasps will have felt aggrieved not to have been awarded a penalty try and Exeter not only survived the onslaught, but extended their lead with Steenson's third three-pointer.
Despite the scoreline, the Chiefs' set-piece was failing to function and they were punished for an overthrown lineout as Wasps went the length of the field for Lindsay to score, Alex Lozowski adding the extras.
However, Steenson added his fourth penalty of the afternoon to settle any nerves and ensured the Chiefs moved to the top of the Premiership table, with previous leaders Northampton playing Saracens on Sunday.
Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter:
"We have a huge game next week for us now, at home to Saracens, and I've told the players that the best part about winning is that you make every week a bigger game.
"I'm delighted that we followed up last week's win at Northampton with a good solid performance.
"I think that what is going to happen over the next few weeks amongst the top group is going to be very interesting and for us it is about keep fighting and maintaining as big a gap as we can.
"Jack (Nowell) scored them by being on the end of the last pass on the wing and now, I suppose, that will make him a great try-scoring winger, the reality is that his strength is that he does work all over the pitch.
"It is good for him that he has banged a couple of tries down because people can now stop saying he doesn't score tries."
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young:
"I thought that we let ourselves down first half and blew at least three two-on-one opportunities.
"The minimum I expect from the players is to go out and put their bodies on the line and stick to the structure.
"There are teams out there that can rise above and play really well on the day. We put our hand up if someone plays better than us on the day and take it on the chin.
"But that wasn't us today, certainly in the first 40 minutes, and we lacked that bite and energy.
"They are a good team and the league table doesn't lie. People seem to keep knocking them down but they keep proving people wrong and Rob (Baxter) keeps them pushing in the right direction so I think they are here to stay."
Exeter: Dollman; Nowell, Slade, Whitten, Jess; Steenson, Chudley; Rimmer, Cowan-Dickie, Francis; Mumm (capt), Welch; Ewers, Armand, Waldrom.
Replacements: Bateman, Moon, Low, Caldwell, Horstmann, Thomas, Hughes, McGuigan.
Sin Bin: Francis (51).
Wasps: Miller; Wade, Daly, Bell, Tagicakibau; Goode, Simpson; McIntyre, Shervington, Cittadini; Davies, Gaskell; Johnson, Jones, Hughes.
Replacements: Lindsay, Yapp, Cooper-Woolley, Myall, Thompson, Davies, Lozowski, Varndell.
Sin Bin: Daly (80).
Referee: Ian Tempest (RFU).