Exeter Chiefs to face Leicester Tigers in the Anglo-Welsh Cup final after beating Harlequins

The Chiefs ran out convincing 24-7 winners over Harlequins at Sandy Park.

Sunday 12 March 2017 22:46
Elvis Taione of Exeter celebrates after team mate Sam Simmonds scores a try
Elvis Taione of Exeter celebrates after team mate Sam Simmonds scores a try

Exeter secured a place in next weekend's Anglo-Welsh Cup final against Leicester with a convincing 24-7 win over Harlequins at Sandy Park.

Quins were bidding for a place in the final at their own ground, the Stoop, but conceded 14 points - tries by Lachie Turner and Max Bodilly, both converted by Joe Simmonds - in the opening 15 minutes, and never looked like recovering.

Julian Salvi and Sam Simmonds touched down in the second half to emphasise the Chiefs' superiority, with Calum Waters' late score - converted by James Lang - accounting for the visitors' only points.

Harlequins were forced into two late changes through injury. Scrum-half, Charlie Mulchrone, failed a late fitness test and was replaced by Luc Jones, while Marland Yarde's tight calf saw him drop down to the bench with Charlie Walker coming into the starting line-up.

Walker looked to have given Harlequins the perfect start when he raced 45 metres and touched down in the sixth minute, after Charlie Matthews had intercepted Shaun Malton's pass to put the wing away. But, after consultation with the television match official, the try was ruled out for an earlier knock-on.

And three minutes later the hosts went ahead when Turner evaded a couple of tackles and scored an excellent individual try.

It got even better for Exeter and worse for Quins when poor tackling allowed the elusive Bodilly to score and then the visitors lost flanker George Naupou to a shoulder injury. He was replaced by Stan South.

Joe Simmonds missed a long-range penalty but it mattered little as Exeter appeared to be in firm control.

The Chiefs continued to pin their opponents in their 22 but passed up several opportunities through lack of precision and eventually Quins were able to relieve the pressure by winning a penalty at a scrum five metres out from their own line.

The second quarter finished scoreless, and Quins will have headed in at the interval hopeful of turning things around with the wind in their favour after the break.

A couple of lively bursts from captain David Ward helped Quins start the second half brightly, but the Chiefs' defence held firm and the visitors never looked like getting over the try-line.

Exeter sealed the game on 55 minutes when Salvi forced his way over from close range to cap a solid spell before Quins brought on Yarde and young fly-half Lang in an attempt to provide some spark to their attack.

It proved fruitless as the home team dominated the final quarter in terms of possession and territory, and were rewarded with a try from number eight Sam Simmonds, who finished off a driving line-out.

Quins gained some consolation two minutes from time when a strong run from Walker set up a try for replacement Waters.

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