Saracens hold on to beat Exeter Chiefs

Aviva Premiership leaders Saracens held on to beat Exeter Chiefs 9-16 at Sandy Park on Saturday.

Saracens enjoyed an impressive first half and went 13-3 up at the break through Ben Ransom’s try and eight points from the boot of Alex Goode.

Phil Dollman’s penalty was Exeter’s sole response before half-time and Gareth Steenson kicked another two after the interval, but Marcelo Bosch’s three-pointer sealed the win.

Despite enjoying a fine start to this season, the visitors were humbled 41-20 by Northampton Saints in their last league match.

However, with several of their internationals back in action following the autumn series, they opened the game impressively. Just five minutes had elapsed when one of those England players, Chris Ashton, broke through and set up Ransom to go over for a 7-0 lead.

Having received that setback, Exeter then went on the front foot and they went close a number of times, but superb Sarries defence kept Rob Baxter’s men out. And when the away side lifted the pressure once more, Steenson was sin-binned for a deliberate knock on.

Goode kicked the resultant opportunity before Dollman, taking over duties with the Chiefs’ stand-off off the field, reduced the deficit with a penalty.

But Sarries’ fly-half then restored their 10-point advantage as they went into the interval 13-3 ahead.

The hosts started well after the interval and Steenson scored his first points of the afternoon, but Bosch’s long range three-pointer once again kept Exeter at arm’s length.

Although Steenson took the Chiefs to within losing bonus-point territory, Saracens held on despite a late surge from the West Country team.

Final Score Exeter Chiefs 9 (3) Saracens 16 (13)

Scorers

Exeter
Pens: Dollman, Steenson 2
Yellow Card: Steenson

Saracens
Try: Ransom
Con: Goode
Pens: Goode 2, Bosch

Match Officials
Referee:
Tim Wigglesworth (73rd Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Roger Baileff and Andrew Pearce.
TMO: David Sainsbury.

Teams

Exeter Chiefs

15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Dave Ewers, 7 Ben White, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm (capt), 3 Hoani Tui,, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Brett Sturgess

16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Don Armand, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Luke Arscott

Saracens

15. Alex Goode; 14. Chris Ashton, 13. Tim Streather, 12. Marcelo Bosch, 11. David Strettle; 10. Charlie Hodgson, 9. Richard Wigglesworth; 1. Richard Barrington, 2. Jamie George, 3. Matt Stevens, 4. Steve Borthwick (c), 5. Alastair Hargreaves, 6. Jackson Wray, 7. Jacques Burger, 8. Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: 16. Schalk Brits, 17. Jared Saunders, 18. Petrus Du Plessis, 19. George Kruis, 20. Will Fraser, 21. Ben Spencer, 22. Michael Tagicakibau, 23. Ben Ransom.

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