Premiership: Exeter Chiefs thrash Leicester Tigers 40-6 in season opener
|Exeter (14) 40|
|Tries: Woodburn, Simmonds, Cowan-Dickie, Slade, Kvesic, Whitten Cons: Steenson 5|
|Leicester (6) 6|
|Pens: Ford 2|
Exeter Chiefs began their Premiership campaign with a commanding 40-6 bonus-point home victory over Leicester.
Two penalties from England fly-half George Ford gave the Tigers a 6-0 lead.
But Exeter, beaten by Saracens in last season's Premiership final, hit back to lead with tries from Olly Woodburn and Sam Simmonds.
Exeter suffocated Leicester of possession after the break and romped clear through Luke Cowan-Dickie, Henry Slade, Matt Kvesic and Ian Whitten.
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Since being promoted to the Premiership, Exeter, who travel to Wasps next week, have built a formidable home record at Sandy Park based around their incessant possession game, going through the phases to grind down their opponents.
And so it proved again against the Tigers, who only got into the Exeter 22 once in the entire 80 minutes.
Yet the Chiefs, who topped the Premiership table last season, found themselves 6-0 down after 23 minutes when Ford kicked his second penalty of the game from the half-way line.
But Exeter had 70% of possession and territory in the first half and were rewarded when Woodburn acrobatically grounded his side's first try after good work by Kvesic, before England back-row Simmonds powered his way over from close range to send his side into half-time with a 14-6 lead.
Leicester continued to be frustrated after the break as Cowan-Dickie burrowed over from close range and Slade touched down for a bonus point after following Sam Skinner's break.
Kvesic capped an impressive personal performance when he dived over from the ruck after Phil Dollman was tackled just short of the Leicester line, before Whitten cantered over after Slade cut through the Tigers defence to wrap up a convincing win.
Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon:
"The most pleasing thing is watching a group of players who have worked so hard in pre-season put so much into a game and get the rewards that hard work deserves.
"Leicester took some breaking down and it was probably much closer than the scoreline suggests, but we stuck at it, refused to bend and buckle and, because we did that, scores came.
"I can't credit the players enough for how they have worked today. We've got a little bit of a flier with getting five points and we've got to keep pushing on next week."
Leicester head coach Matt O'Connor told BBC Radio Leicester:
"It's pretty deflating. We knew coming into the game that we were probably 40, 60, 80 minutes shy of enough rugby in our frontline forwards but we couldn't risk them because they are too important for us.
"The first 25 minutes was a very tasty encounter that took a lot of petrol out of us and we couldn't recover.
"Exeter are a very good side and they have put down a massive marker around what they want to achieve this year.
"It was probably closer in large parts than it appeared on the scoreboard, but the run they had at the back end of the game was very impressive."
Exeter: Dollman; Cordero, Whitten, Devoto, Woodburn; Steenson, White; Hepburn, Yeandle (capt), Francis, Atkins, Skinner, Armand, Kvesic, S Simmonds
Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Holmes, Williams, Salmon, Lonsdale, Townsend, J Simmonds, Slade
Leicester: Veainu; Thompstone, Tuilagi, Toomua, May; Ford, B Youngs; Bateman, T Youngs (capt), Cole, Fitzgerald, Spencer, Denton, O'Connor, Kalamafoni
Replacements: Polota-Nau, Feao, Cortes, Wells, Williams, Harrison, Eastmond, Olowofela
Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU)