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Exeter Chiefs complete the Dragons double

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Article Published: Sunday 18 December 2011

Exeter Chiefs scored a late try to earn them a 19-23 Amlin Challenge Cup victory over Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade on Sunday.

James Phillips try won it for the Chiefs who beat the Dragons 18-16 last weekend at Sandy Park.

Exeter Chiefs produced a ferocious second-half comeback to complete an Amlin Challenge Cup double over Newport Gwent Dragons and surged back to the top of Pool Four.

Rob Baxter's men trailed 16-6 at the interval following a stunning try from Toby Faletau.

But with super-sub Gareth Steenson back at the helm Exeter edged to a hard-fought win thanks to tries from Simon Alcott and James Phillips at a bitterly cold Rodney Parade.

Baxter made just four changes to the side that triumphed 18-6 last weekend at Sandy Park and issued a message of "more of the same."

While the Dragons made five changes to the side that fell to an 18-6 defeat at Sandy Park with Wales wing Aled Brew and Jason Tovey returning to the starting line-up.

Head coach Darren Edwards was disappointed with the defeat in Devon, which saw Exeter climb to the top of Pool Four, and urged his side to come out firing in this must win game.

They made the perfect start with Tovey slotted a penalty on six minutes before Mieres opened his account to level the scores following a sustained period of pressure.

Tovey landed his second penalty on 16 minutes but again it was almost instantly nullified thanks to the boot of Mieres. Exeter were dealt a blow when Simon Alcott was fortunate to be shown yellow for what appeared a tip-tackle.

The Dragons quickly made their numerical advantage count as Tovey added a third penalty to restore the hosts' lead. Mieres, the Dragons slayer last week, had the opportunity to tie the scores once again on 37 minutes but was off target.

And he was punished for his inaccuracy when the Welsh region surged the length of the pitch to score a breathtaking try. Wales World Cup star Toby Faletau made a trademark burst from inside his own twenty-two and found Tovey in support.

The fly-half tore down the left and fed Brew who then flicked an inside ball back to Faletau to score. Tovey made no mistake adding the extras to give the hosts a 16- 6 halftime lead.

Whatever Rob Baxter said in the Exeter changing room at the interval appeared to do the trick and they got their first try after Alcott rumbled over.

Steenson, on for Mieres slotted the conversion to bring the Chiefs within three points but Tovey quickly added a penalty to bring the scores to 19-13. Steenson continued to chip away at the hosts' lead as Exeter's comeback continued.

The Dragons struggled to live with the visitors physicality in the final quarter and Exeter got their reward with just minutes to spare as Phillips dived over to snatch the victory.

Newport Gwent Dragons 19 (16) Exeter Chiefs 23 (6)


NG Dragons
Try: Faletau
Con: Tovey
Pens: Tovey 4

Exeter Chiefs
Tries: Alcott, Phillips
Cons: Steenson 2
Pens: Mieres 2, Steenson

Att: 5,137

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)


Newport Gwent Dragons: M Thomas; T Chavhanga, A Hughes, A Tuilagi, A Brew; J Tovey, W Evans; N Williams, L Burns, N Buck, A Jones, R Sidoli, D Lydiate, G Thomas [capt], T Faletau

Replacements: R Buckley, P Price, K Jenkins, L Evans, T Brown, J Bedford, L Robling, W Harries

Exeter Chiefs: L Arscott; N Sestaret, J Shoemark, P Dollman, M Jess; I Mieres, P Phibbs; B Sturgess, S Alcott, C Mitchell, T Hayes [capt], C Bentley, B White, J Scaysbrook, J Phillips

Replacements: N Clark, H Tui, J Andress, A Muldowney, D Ewers, K Barrett, G Steenson, J Tatupu

With thanks to ERCRugby.

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LV= Cup Pool 1

Exeter Chiefs
2 2 0 0 37 1 9
Harlequins 2 2 0 0 10 1 9
Gloucester Rugby 2 1 0 1 20 1 6
Dragons 2 0 0 2 -31 0 0

LV= Cup Pool 2

Worcester Warriors 2 1 0 1 7 1 5
Cardiff Blues 2 1 0 1 -1 1 5
Sale Sharks 2 1 0 1 -4 1 5
Leicester Tigers 2 1 0 1 -10 0 4

LV= Cup Pool 3

Saracens 2 1 0 1 15 2 6
London Irish 2 1 0 1 -1 2 5
London Wasps 2 1 0 1 4 1 5
Scarlets 2 1 0 2 10 0 4

LV= Cup Pool 4

Northampton Saints 2 1 0 1 9 1 5
Bath Rugby 2 1 0 1 21 0 4
Ospreys 2 1 0 1 -4 0 4
London Welsh 2 0 0 2 -53 0 0
Note : Pool 1 plays Pool 4 and Pool 2 plays Pool 3.