Simpson saves Wasps' blushes
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Joe Simpson rescued a draw for Premiership leaders Wasps with a late try at Exeter Chiefs in a pulsating end-to-end game, which featured 10 tries and a red card.
The two teams exchanged tries throughout the match, with Christian Wade and Alex Rieder sandwiching a penalty try in the first half for Wasps, while Sam Simmonds, Jack Maunder and a penalty try ensured the Chiefs kept pace.
Luke Cowan-Dickie then gave Exeter the lead after the break, before a red card for Jonny Hill turned the game on its head and added to the excitement.
Kyle Eastmond scored Wasps fourth before Ollie Woodburn gave the hosts a shock lead, but they could not hold on as Simpson ensured the points were shared.
Wasps made a fast start at Sandy Park and took the lead in the fourth minute with predatory winger Wade darting through after some fine work from Australian fullback Kurtley Beale.
But the Chiefs are notoriously difficult to face at home and they hit back quickly as Simmonds completed a fine day by scoring his first Premiership try, on his first start and a few hours after penning a new deal.
However, parity did not last long as Mitchell Lees was sin-binned for illegal work at the breakdown and Wasps' muscular forwards made them pay by securing a penalty try.
Exeter look stronger with ball-in-hand this season and they scored a fine try to hit back as Phil Dollman surged through a gap and set up Maunder to stroll in.
And the try-fest continued as Rieder crossed to give Wasps the lead again before a penalty try brought the hosts back level at the end of a breathless opening period.
The half-time break did not stop Exeter's momentum, as hooker Cowan-Dickie burst through the middle to secure a bonus-point for the hosts.
But joy soon turned to despair as Jonny Hill was shown a red card for a high tackle and Eastmond capitalised to level the scores once more.
However, in keeping with this end-to-end game, Exeter regained the lead as the excellent Woodburn scampered through after a mazy run to score.
Wasps pushed forwards, desperate for a way back into the match but the Chiefs defence remained firm - forcing errors at key moments.
But to ask Exeter to hang on for so long with one less player was tough, and Wasps, with all their attacking quality got through as Danny Cipriani's break created space, and Simpson crossed a couple of passes later.
For Exeter Chiefs:
Tries:Simmonds, Maunder, Cowan-Dickie, Woodburn, Penalty try
Cons: Steenson 5
Tries:Wade, Rieder, Eastmond, Simpson, Penalty try
Cons: Gopperth 5
Yellow cards: Mitch Lees (Exeter Chiefs, 7), Thomas Young (Wasps, 36)
Red card: Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, 45)
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson (captain), 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Don Armand, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Sam Skinner, 20 Tom Johnson, 21 Stuart Townsend, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Lachie Turner.
Wasps: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Jimmy Gopperth, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Alex Rieder, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Ashley Johnson (captain), 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Marty Moore, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Simon McIntyre.
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 Will Rowlands, 20 James Gaskell, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Alapati Leiua, 23 Frank Halai.
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant referees: Adam Leal, Ross Campbell
TMO: David Grashoff