Baxter hails 'endeavour' as Chiefs keep up in race for play-off place

Exeter Chiefs 18 London Irish 11

sandy park

Exeter continued to push hard for a place in the Aviva Premiership play-offs as they secured their first victory in any competition against London Irish. The Devon side outscored the Exiles by two tries to one – all the visitors' points came from the full-back Tom Homer as they slipped to their sixth league defeat in a row.

Exeter's coach, Rob Baxter, said: "Every Premiership win is very important and hard fought so you take the points when you can. I thought we showed tremendous endeavour in this game but we also missed gilt-edged opportunities to score points.

"But those opportunities were there because we played well, we moved the ball around the pitch well, got into space well and kept possession very well. Most of our game held up to extremely high standards. London Irish have enough quality and enough game-breakers to really hurt you, but we kept them out of the game by playing ourselves. We have just got to keep getting better and taking the opportunities."

Exeter named an unchanged side from the one that beat Gloucester 28-27 last time out and they were led on to the pitch by the No 8 Richard Baxter – Rob's brother – who was making his 400th league and cup appearance for the club. Irish made two changes from the side that lost 41-32 at Leicester Tigers last Sunday, with Adrian Jarvis starting at fly-half and Paulica Ion at tighthead prop.

The Chiefs applied the early pressure and their Argentinian fly-half Ignacio Mieres put the first points on the board with a 40-metre penalty. Irish levelled the scores with a Homer penalty and after Mieres had missed one kick at goal, the fly-half succeeded with his next attempt to make it 6-3.

Baxter then made an excellent break down the left touchline before he was halted by the Exiles flanker Matt Garvey, but the ball was worked across field and the outside centre Bryan Rennie just failed to squeeze in at the left corner. The referee, Dave Pearson, had already blown his whistle for a penalty on the opposite side of the pitch, but Mieres saw his attempt hit the far upright.

The Chiefs maintained the pressure, Rennie putting a neat grubber kick through and forcing Homer to take the awkwardly bouncing ball into touch five metres from his own line and with half-time approaching. Exeter's replacement hooker, Neil Clark, found Baxter to set up the the drive to the tryline and the second-row forward James Hanks went over for his first try of the season, from close range. Mieres kicked the conversion to give the Chiefs a 13-3 lead at the break.

In the second half, Mieres, now kicking into the wind, missed an early opportunity to stretch the Chiefs lead with a 25-metre attempt. It was then the visitors who got the first points of the half. A neat chip through from Jarvis and another awkward bounce caught two Chiefs defenders napping, allowing Homer to touch down in the corner – he was unable to add the touchline conversion but he did then reduce the arrears to two points with his second penalty.

Homer was just wide with his next attempt, midway through the half. That was just the jolt that Exeter needed and the right wing Gonzalo Camacho crossed for his first try for the club, having been tackled just short of the line. Mieres missed the conversion and a 45-metre penalty before he was replaced by Gareth Steenson for the final 10 minutes.

With less than four minutes left the Exiles won a penalty 15 metres from the Chiefs line and in front of the posts – they kicked to touch to set up a drive and a tense finish, but the Chiefs' defence stood firm.

Irish's head coach, Toby Booth, said: "Again we are on the wrong side of the scoreline. We've got to seriously look at it because it is not from the lack of effort, but I'm sure it will turn for us."

Exeter Chiefs P Dollman; G Camacho, B Rennie (S Naqelevuki, 57), J Shoemark, M Jess; I Mieres (G Steenson, 71), H Thomas (K Barrett, 51); H Tui (B Moon, 52), C Whitehead (N Clark, 19), C Mitchell (C Budgen, 79), T Hayes (capt), J Hanks (A Muldowney, 57), T Johnson, R Baxter, J Scaysbrook.

London Irish T Homer; M Yarde, J Ansbro, S Shingler (D Armitage, 58), S Tagicakibau; A Jarvis, D Allinson (P Hodgson, 68); A Corbisiero (M Lahiff, 63), D Paice (J Buckland, 69), P Ion (L Halavatau, 58), N Kennedy, B Evans, D Danaher (B Casey, 63), J Gibson (A Gray, 59), M Garvey (O Treviranus, 40).

Referee D Pearson (Northumberland).

Exeter Chiefs

Tries: Hanks, Camacho

Con: Mieres

Pens: Mieres 2

London Irish

Try: Homer

Pens: Homer 2

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat