Chiefs claim Quins scalp
Sat, 06 Oct 2012 20:03
We review Saturday's Premiership action
Jason Shoemark's second-half double saw Exeter Chiefs make it two defeats on the spin for reigning Premiership champions Harlequins on Saturday.
A see-sawing match was delicately poised midway through the second-half only for Shoemark to score two tries in three minutes for the victorious Chiefs.
Shoemark's double was one of five scores from a rampant home side - Brett Sturgess, Ben White and Sireli Naqelevuki also crossing - who warmed up for next week's trip to Leinster in style.
Harlequins had looked favourites for victory approaching the hour mark when Karl Dickson scored one of their three tries, Nick Evans and Ugo Monye also crossing.
However, Shoemark's quick-fire double ultimately settled the tie in the Chiefs' favour, for whom flyhalf Gareth Steenson kicked 17 points.
Exeter flew out of the blocks both in terms of intensity and the willingness to get the ball in hand and the home side drew first blood through the impressive Steenson.
The flyhalf - in his first start of the season - kicked a penalty to make it 3-0 before Quins wasted a chance to get level.
Evans - on the back of a rare off-colour game against Saracens last time out - continued where he left off in missing from out wide.
However, the Kiwi No.10 couldn't miss with his next penalty attempt. Chiefs prop Carl Rimmer was penalised for standing up in the scrum and with the three-pointer in front of the posts, it was 3-3 after ten minutes.
The home side refused to be put off their attacking game however against the reigning Premiership champions and they made it 10-3 two minutes later.
Fullback Luke Arscott's impressive break set up the move by putting Quins firmly on the back foot. Then, after Chiefs had moved through the phases, an overhead pass from Phil Dolman put the unlikely figure of loosehead prop Sturgess over in the corner.
Steenson added the impressive extras and a penalty to put the home side ten points to the good.
Evans kicked a penalty to reduce the arrears before the former All Black wrestled back the momentum in the battle of the flyhalves.
The previously buoyant Steenson saw his clearance kick charged down by his opposite number who promptly picked himself up to dot down.
Evans missed the conversion to leave the scores at 13-11. England fullback Mike Brown was the Quins’ hero just after the half-hour mark, a tap tackle foiling Chiefs flanker Tom Johnson who looked set to cross.
Steenson made it four successful kicks from four to bounce back from the disappointment of Evans' charge-down try with a penalty on 36 minutes.
However, it was the visitors who had the last laugh in the half when, despite seemingly having wasted the overlap, Monye crossed for his fourth try of the season.
Evans added the conversion to send Quins into the interval 18-16 to the good, however, the home side wrestled the lead back early in the second-half when back row forward White crossed for his second try in as many weeks, Steenson converting.
Rory Clegg replaced Evans shortly afterwards and he wasted a golden chance to reduce the deficit on 54 minutes - firing a penalty attempt wide.
However, he couldn't miss with his next attempt - a conversion from in front of the posts - after he had intercepted Matt Jess' pass and scrumhalf Dickson went over.
The match swung back in Exeter's favour when Dolman made the crucial break before offloading to Shoemark who crossed, Steenson missing the conversion to leave the score at 28-25.
And the Kiwi centre added a second minutes later. Steenson pounced on a Quins error to release Shoemark who gave his flyhalf the easiest of conversions.
A penalty from Clegg reduced the deficit but a converted Naqelevuki score settled it late on.
Tries: Sturgess, White, Shoemark 2, Naqelevuki
Con: Steenson 4
Pen: Steenson 3
Tries: Evans, Monye, Dickson
Con: Evans, Clegg 2
Pen: Evans 2, Clegg
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Ian Whitten, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter (captain), 7 Ben White, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Carl Rimmer, 2 Simon Alcott, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Neil Clark, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Chris Budgen, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Sireli Naqelevuki.
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Seb Stegmann, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain) 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 21 Danny Care, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Ollie Lindsay-Hague.
Referee: Martin Fox
Assistant referees: Peter Huckle, Gareth Copsey
London Irish 39-17 Northampton Saints
Jonathan Joseph was the star attraction as London Irish upset the Premiership form guide to take down the previously unbeaten Northampton Saints 39-17 at the Madejski Stadium.
Joseph scored the first of his side's four tries and had a hand in two others as the Exiles blitzed the visitors early on and never looked back.
In addition to Joseph's score, David Paice, Topsy Ojo and Jamie Gibson all crossed for the home side who had only won once in their first five games of the season.
Saints, by contrast, had made a flying start to the new campaign but they were no match for Brian Smith's troops on Saturday and in truth, late tries from Ken Pisi and Phil Dowson gave the scoreline a sense of respectability that they scarcely merited.
The opening exchanges were understandably cagey as Stephen Myler and Steven Shingler traded penalty misses and the first score did not come until the 22nd minute.
Joseph chipped through, winger Marland Yarde gave chase and hacked the ball forward but as the ball went over the try-line, Vasily Artemyev, covering at fullback in the absence of the injured Ben Foden and James Wilson, appeared to have it all under control.
But the Russian fluffed his chance to dot the ball down and Joseph pounced to score the first try of the match, Shingler missing with the conversion however.
Irish were stopping the Saints from playing their natural game and continued to press as half-time approached, Ofisa Treviranus coming within inches of adding a second try.
But with the referee playing advantage when the Samoan No.8 was held up over the try-line, it was left to Shingler to slot over the simplest of penalties and make it 8-0.
The Exiles were clearly in the mood and in the last five minutes before half-time they continued to turn the screw with Joseph the tormentor-in-chief.
A second try appeared inevitable and when it came it was hooker David Paice who burrowed his way over from short range, Shingler adding the extras to make it 15-0 in the 36th minute.
Everything the Exiles tried was coming off as the half drew to a close, Ian Humphreys rubbing salt in the wound with a long-range drop goal as the Saints looked totally shell-shocked.
Half-time could not come soon enough for Jim Mallinder's men and immediately after the break they looked much improved.
Pisi's jinking break early in the second half served notice of Northampton's intention to go down fighting but it was Irish who continued to impress as they defended stoutly on their try-line against wave after wave of Saints attack.
Finally the Exiles were forced to concede a penalty that Myler duly slotted to give the visitors a foothold in the match at 18-3.
But the Exiles kept coming and with their first real attack of the half, they had their third try as yet another searing run from Joseph fed Ojo, whose charge to the line looked like it might fall short but his momentum carried him over to make it 23-3.
And it was not just in the backs that the Irish were calling the shots as up front they continued to have the nudge on the Saints.
A driving maul moments after Ojo's try took them deep into Northampton territory and when the penalty was conceded, Shingler made no mistake to make it 26-3.
The introduction of Ryan Lamb at flyhalf stopped the rot somewhat for the Saints and the former Exile came within inches of giving the visitors their first try in the game.
But it just was not to be for the Saints and on the hour mark the rampant Exiles had their bonus point try as flanker Jamie Gibson broke clear to score, Shingler converting to make it 33-3.
Late scores from Pisi and Dowson gave the Saints something to go home smiling about but two more penalties from Shingler sealed the deal on a fantastic afternoon for the Exiles faithful.
For London Irish:
Tries: Joseph, Paice, O'Leary, Gibson
Con: Shingler 2
Pen: Shingler 4
Tries: Pisi, Dowson
Con: Myler 2
London Irish: 15 Steven Shingler, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Sailosi Tagicakibau; 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Ian Humphreys 9 Tomás O'Leary, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Bryn Evans (captain), 4 George Skivington 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Shaun Malton, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Alan Cotter, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Chris Hala'ufia, 21 Guy Armitage, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Jack Moates. 15
Northampton Saints: 15 James Wilson, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Dom Waldouck, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Vasily Artemyev, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Phil Dowson (captain), 7 Tom Wood, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Mike Haywood, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Teimana Harrison, 20 Rhys Oakley, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Tom May.
Referee: Mathieu Raynal
Assistant referees: Kevin Stewart, Andrew Watson
Gloucester 16-10 Bath
Gloucester recovered from a nightmare start to claim the bragging rights over West Country rivals Bath, Rob Cook's first-ever Premiership try handing them a 16-10 victory at Kingsholm.
Less than a minute was on the clock when Stephen Donald went over and converted his own try to give Bath a dream start, adding a penalty as the visitors went in at the break 10-6 ahead.
But Gloucester dominated the second half and Cook crossed to add to 11 points from the boot of Freddie Burns to extend the Cherry and Whites' unbeaten run to five Premiership games.
Bath would have been looking to silence the raucous home support at Kingsholm in this West Country derby as early as possible and got the ideal start as Donald touched down after just 32 seconds.
All eyes will be on Kiwi Donald now that Olly Barkley swapped the Rec for France and he did himself no harm here as he spotted a gap in the Cherry and Whites defence, bursting through it and running 40m to cross the whitewash, adding the extras himself for an early seven-point lead for Bath.
Despite the early setback, Gloucester were very much in the game, knocking on Bath's door but just lacking with the final pass.
But, on 14 minutes, the visitors thought they had crossed for a second try through Nick Abendanon only for it to be ruled out after replays had shown Kyle Eastmond had just stepped out of touch on the right wing after chasing down Sam Vesty's grubber kick.
However, Bath did extend their lead just four minutes later as Eastmond once again chased down a kick, this time from Donald, and put the Gloucester defence under pressure when it seemed like being a lost cause.
This led to a penalty at a scrum, which Donald put between the posts for a 10-0 lead.
Despite trailing, Gloucester were enjoying the lion's share of possession and ten minutes before half-time, Burns had the hosts on the board with a straight-forward penalty.
Just moments later, Burns sent his side in at the interval trailing by just four points as he added another three-pointer following a powerful run by Shane Monahan.
This buoyed the home side and they started the second half as they had ended the first, but Burns was wide with a penalty on the right.
Ten minutes into the second half, Gloucester thought they had got their first try of the game but despite grounding the ball, Monahan's effort was ruled out by TMO David Grashoff as he deemed it was not immediate thanks to some brilliant defending by Tom Biggs.
But just moments later, the home side had the try their play deserved as a flowing move from right to left saw James Simpson-Daniel send fullback Cook over in the left corner for his first-ever Premiership try.
This put Gloucester in the lead for the first time and Burns made the tough conversion to leave Bath trailing by three points.
The home fans at Kingsholm had more to cheer just before the hour mark as Kiwi World Cup winner Jimmy Cowan came off the bench for his first taste of action in a Gloucester shirt.
However, they once again saw a try ruled out after Henry Trinder had touched down in the right corner, but Monahan was adjudged to have gone out of touch before offloading to the centre.
With six minutes on the clock, Burns wasn't taking any chances and sent over a drop goal to give Gloucester a bit more breathing space, Bath unable to come back, leaving them with just one win in their last ten meetings with their local rivals.
Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Shane Monahan, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Jim Hamilton (captain), 4 Tom Savage, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Koree Britton, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Will James, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Mike Tindall, 23 Martyn Thomas.
Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Kyle Eastmond, 13 Dan Hipkiss, 12 Sam Vesty, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Ben Skirving, 6 Carl Fearns, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Dominic Day, 3 Davey Wilson, 2 Lee Mears (captain), 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Will Skuse, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Ollie Devoto, 23 Jack Cuthbert.
Referee: Dave Pearson
Assistant referees: Robin Goodliffe, Andrew Pearce
TMO: David Grashoff
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