Exeter Chiefs 18 London Irish 0 match report: Chiefs win at last as Marland Yarde savours own personal victory

 

Sandy Park

Like a saloon car that has driven through too much floodwater in recent weeks, Exeter Chiefs coughed and spluttered yesterday but ended up firing on at least one cylinder. They ended a depressing run of five Aviva Premiership defeats, and though their position in the table has not changed, they are primed for their assault on the LV= Cup next weekend and, beyond that, a late-season charge on European qualification.

That is more than London Irish can aspire to. This was the first occasion this season that they failed to score, and Brian Smith, their director of rugby, acknowledged that he has made too great a demand on the same players over the past four Premiership games. He is operating with a small squad and, at this time of year, minor injuries become major ones with the stress and strain of competition.

It will be some consolation that Marland Yarde came through intact. This was the England wing’s first full game for three months and he received a stern physical examination of the hip injury which has kept him out. Exeter kept him bottled up from start to finish but Yarde will have derived confidence from mere survival: “He showed he’s back, that he has the appetite,” Smith said.

“Today wasn’t a great surface for a back-three player but he was with England last Thursday and if they have injuries, I’m sure he’ll be in contention.” If that applies to Yarde, how much more does it apply to Tom Johnson, Exeter’s willing flanker? England had no specialist flanker on the bench against Ireland and may find Johnson’s ability to play across the back row of value against Wales next weekend.

Apart from his usual industry, at the breakdown, as a support player and at an occasionally malfunctioning line-out, Johnson won the high ball which set up Exeter’s second try and made sure the match was well beyond the Irish.

He was the heartbeat of a young side in which Luke Cowan-Dickie was making his first Premiership start at hooker and came off with flying colours. His throwing to the line-out may be a work in progress but his pace about the field and his hooking skills will take him far. “There’s stuff to work on but the ability is there,” Rob Hunter, the Exeter forwards coach, said.

As a whole, though, the game never developed fluidity. There were more stoppages for penalties and set-pieces than in most games this season and Henry Slade, Exeter’s fly-half, kicked more frequently than Exeter are prone to do. But the Chiefs needed a win of any kind to reverse an unfortunate trend and they were helped by yellow cards for Leo Halavatau, the visiting prop, in the first half, and Darren Allinson, the scrum-half, in the second.

That said, Ben White was slightly fortunate to see only yellow for a tip tackle on Allinson which might have cost Exeter dear. But the Irish could not take advantage of his absence and, just before his return, Exeter scored their second try. Two penalties by Slade were the only scores of the first half, though a gilt-edged try went begging when Ian Whitten broke clear but failed to see Luke Arscott screaming up in support.

However, Arscott’s pass, after good work on the left by Whitten and White, gave Phil Dollman the first try two minutes into the second half. The second came from Shane Geraghty’s kick won by Johnson, from which Exeter spread the ball, Slade and Matt Jess giving Whitten the chance to stretch through Alex Lewington’s tackle and score.

Line-ups:

Exeter Chiefs: L Arscott; M Jess (F Vainikolo, 77), I Whitten, P Dollman, T James  (Vainikolo, 23-24); H Slade (G Steenson, 77), D Lewis (H Thomas, 69); B Moon (C Rimmer, 71), L Cowan-Dickie (G Bateman, 69), H Tui (A Brown, 65), D Mumm (captain), D Welch (D Armand, 32-34, 69), T Johnson (K Horstmann, 71), B White (sin bin 58-69), D Ewers.

London Irish: T Ojo; A Lewington, E Sheridan, J O’Connor, M Yarde; S Geraghty, D Allinson (sin bin 77); J Yapp (M Parr, 52), D Paice, L Halavatau (sin bin 21-31; Yapp, 65), G Skivington (captain), N Rouse (I Gough, 61), K Low (J Sinclair, 52), B Cowan (M Mayhew, 74), O Treviranus (M Parr, 24-31; G Ellis, 58).

Referee: M Carley (Kent).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
News
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
science
Extras
indybest
News
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
people
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
Extras
indybest
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home