The Gloucester head coach, Bryan Redpath, may have played down the last meeting between these teams but revenge was clearly in the air yesterday. Exeter had announced their arrival in the Aviva Premiership with a shock win over the Cherry and Whites on the first day of the season. Here, the Chiefs were served a dose of reality.
Gloucester wrapped up their first try-scoring bonus point of the season in style. Rory Lawson and Olly Morgan scored from distance as the home team went 18-6 clear at half-time, before James Simpson-Daniel, Charlie Sharples and Akapusi Qera completed a comprehensive five-try victory in the second period. The result kept Gloucester in contention for the play-offs, which is much more important to Redpath than any settling of any scores, whatever the Shed faithful might have said.
Redpath said: "We never mentioned that defeat this week and this win was not about settling a score. Thatday Exeter were the better side but that was more than four months ago and I'm not interested in the past. We played what was in front of us and didn't play with too much structure. Sometimes you have to have the balls to take chances and we showed real ambition with some of the tries we scored.
"At times, we looked very dangerous. There are obviously things we need to brush up on in defence but this week was all about a win."
That win should havebeen more comfortable but Gloucester were guilty of lapses in concentration that almost allowed Exeter to claw back a losing bonus point.
The Chiefs' coach, Rob Baxter, said: "Gloucester caught us napping with two early long-range tries and we lost our way after that with our game management and they continued to hurt us. But we can't take ourselves too seriously, we're still a young Premiership team and this was our first time at Kingsholm in the Premiership. Next time we'll be better."
The Exeter fly-half Gareth Steenson, back from a knee injury that he suffered in October, took three minutes to get on to the scoreboard with a penalty. But Gloucester twice hit the Chiefs from inside their own half – Lawson finished Sharples' break before Mike Tindall and Simpson-Daniel seized on a quick penalty for Morgan to touch down.
Exeter ended the half down to 14 men, with the scrum-half Haydn Thomas in the sin-bin, and Simpson-Daniel beat two men to make the advantage count after 50 minutes. That sparked a flurry of tries as the game lost its shape and the flanker Tom Johnson caught Gloucester napping to score for the Chiefs. Sharples raced on to a delightful pass from Luke Narraway to score the bonus-point try before Sireli Naqelevuki scored either side of Gloucester's fifth, which was scored by Qera.
Gloucester O Morgan; C Sharples (T Taylor, 65), M Tindall (capt), E Fuimaono-Sapolu; J Simpson-Daniel (H Trinder, 53); F Burns, R Lawson (D Lewis, 68); N Wood (P Capdeville, 65), S Lawson (O Azam, 65), P Doran-Jones, W James, A Brown, P Buxton (A Strokosch, 72), L Narraway, A Hazell (A Qera, 60).
Exeter Chiefs L Arscott; M Foster, J Shoemark (P Dollman, 60), S Naqelevuki, N Sestaret; G Steenson (R Davis, 77), H Thomas (J Poluleuligaga, 49); B Sturgess, C Whitehead (S Alcott, 47), H Tui (C Budgen, 50), T Hayes (capt), J Hanks (C Slade, 55), T Johnson (D Ewars, 66), R Baxter, J Scaysbrook.
Referee M Fox (Leicestershire).
Tries: R Lawson, Morgan, Simpson-Daniel, Sharples, Qera
Cons: Burns 2, Taylor
Pens: Burns 2
Tries: Johnson, Naqelevuki 2
Pens: Steenson 2