Rugby round-up: Kicking king Davis keeps Leeds bottom

Exeter secured a 15-9 win in the Aviva Premiership at Sandy Park to leave Leeds still looking for their first success of the campaign. On a bitterly cold afternoon Ryan Davis, in his first season with the Chiefs, landed five penalties from his six attempts to take the Devon side up to sixth place.

The fly-half put the Chiefs ahead with two penalties in the opening 10 minutes and it was not until midway through the half that the visitors mounted their first serious attack when the centre Henry Fa'afili was stopped close to the line. With two minutes of the first half remaining, Ceiron Thomas found the gap between the posts to leave Leeds trailing 6-3 at the break. A second Thomas penalty after the interval brought the scores level.

Davis took his penalty count to five in the second half to leave the visitors needing to score twice, but they could only manager another Thomas kick, which gave Leeds a losing bonus point.

Berrick Barnes put on an exhibition of kicking as Australia battled to a hard-fought 32-14 win over Italy at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. Barnes kicked a perfect eight out of eight – six penalties and conversions from tries by Drew Mitchell and Rocky Elsom – but it was far from comfortable for the Wallabies.

Australia got their first try when Mitchell bundled over. Barnes converted, before Mirco Bergamasco put Italy on the board with a penalty. Luciano Orquera and Bergamasco added three-pointers to make it 13-9 at half-time.

Barnes split the posts four more times after the break, before Italy got a try courtesy of the substitute Robert Barbieri, who picked up when the ball ran loose after a scrum. But Elsom's try and another Barnes conversion put some gloss on the win in Florence.

Last night France beat Argentina 15-9 in a dour and physical contest in Montpellier. Mark Lievrèmont's side made hard work of victory, relying on three penalties from Morgan Parra and a drop goal from Damien Traille. Felipe Contepomi struck three penalties for the Pumas.

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