Rugby Union: Exeter outclassed in Underwood's finishing school

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Leicester. . .76

Exeter. . . . .0

IT comes to something when you find yourself saying Exeter can be thankful for small mercies after a scoreline like this. But if John Liley had had his kicking boots on Leicester would have romped in to the semi-finals by a record score.

Another side from Exeter, the University, remain the cup's heaviest losers thanks to an 87-3 drubbing at Gloucester in 1985. Having said that, there has never been anything like this in the quarter-finals - and Liley missed nine conversions.

Imagine, though, how Andy Green feels. The Exeter outside-half is the only man to have passed 300 points this season, but he did not have a single pot at goal in the 13-try rout, Exeter deciding to run the ball on the only occasion they were awarded a penalty within sight of the posts.

So Exeter departed empty-handed from Welford Road, as on their previous six visits. Leicester simply took them apart, Tony Underwood warming up for his Five Nations' debut for England against Scotland at Twickenham next weekend with a hat-trick of tries.

Exeter had looked upon their first cup outing to Leicester as part of the learning process in their drive for promotion from the Third Division. Their coach, Dave Wiggins, had summed up feelings when he remarked: 'I said to the boys you must understand that there are a lot of big-name clubs who'd like to be where you are this afternoon.'

But perhaps not on the receiving end of 76 points. However, Exeter did discover the gulf between a team running third in the First Division and one unbeaten in their own neck of the league woods. One hopes their confidence is not completely shattered.

They had beaten Newbury, Berry Hill, Clifton and Redruth on their way but when someone like Tony Underwood is making 60-yard breaks rugby life can seem dreadfully hard.

Leicester: J Liley; T Underwood, S Potter, I Bates, R Underwood; J Harris, A Kardooni; G Rowntree, R Cockerill, D Garforth, M Johnson (D Grewcock, 61 min), M Poole, S Povoas, D Richards (capt), N Back (M Grant, 52 min).

Exeter: I Stewart; M Chatterton, A Baker, J Tutchings, S Dovell; A Green, A Maunder (capt); R Gibbins, R Pugsley, P Sluman, H Langley, P Hodge, P Westgate, R Baxter, T Edbrooke (G Meldon, 33 min).

Referee: F Howard (Liverpool Society).

Scores: Povoas (try, 7 min, 5-0); Liley (pen, 24 min, 8-0); T Underwood (try, 28 min, 13-0); Back (try, 30 min, 18-0); Richards (try, 34 min, 23-0); Richards (try, 39 min, 28-0); Potter / Liley (try/conv, 45 min, 35-0); T Underwood / Liley (try/conv, 52 min, 42-0); T Underwood (try, 58 min, 47-0); Liley (try, 67 min, 52-0); Cockerill (try, 72 min, 57-0); Grewcock / Liley (try/conv, 74 min, 64-0); R Underwood (try, 76 min, 69-0); Liley / Liley (try/conv, 79 min, 76-0).