Premiership: Gloucester beat leaders Exeter 24-17 at Kingsholm

Willi Heinz scores a try for Gloucester
Gloucester captain Willi Heinz crossed for one of their three tries at Kingsholm
Gallagher Premiership
Gloucester (10) 24
Tries: Woodward, Heinz, Morgan Cons: Twelvetrees 3 Pen: Twelvetrees
Exeter (7) 17
Tries: White, O'Flaherty Cons: J Simmonds, Steenson Pen: J Simmonds

Gloucester upset Premiership leaders Exeter by winning 24-17 in a thrilling contest at Kingsholm.

Ben Morgan crossed for the decisive try four minutes from time before helping the Cherry and Whites pack hold firm on their own line in added time.

Jason Woodward and captain Willi Heinz also scored tries for the hosts either side of half-time, with Nic White and Tom O'Flaherty on the board for Chiefs.

Victory ended a run of five defeats in all competitions for Gloucester.

They also climb to third above Harlequins as a result, while Exeter extend their lead over second-placed Saracens to five points with a losing bonus point.

Rob Baxter's men almost came away with a draw, but knocked on after 16 phases on the edge of Gloucester's line as they went in search of a third try.

On an evening of fine margins, Gloucester thought they had spurned their chance to win when Billy Twelvetrees hooked two penalty attempts wide in the space of four minutes late on.

But number eight Morgan's score came as the hosts capitalised on a charge-down from Owen Williams' clearance that fell into the hands of Ollie Thorley to help switch the ball wide right.

The try stood despite protests from Exeter earlier in the move that Morgan had obstructed Chiefs winger O'Flaherty off the ball. But referee Craig Maxwell-Keys saw no infringement.

After only their third defeat of the season, Exeter's lead at the top could be cut on Saturday when Saracens host Leicester.

Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

"That last defensive effort showed the guts of the guys.

"But we attacked well in parts. We probably left a few tries out there and our set piece was much better.

"There were parts where I felt we looked a bit helter-skelter and slowed it down. But, we handled the territory well and didn't get frustrated.

"The big thing is hopefully we can improve from this. Everyone will be that much sharper and more focused in the games ahead."

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon:

"I'm just surprised that block at the end wasn't looked at. If it's looked at and a decision is made, you don't mind either way.

"But, if you want to win regularly, you can't hope that a refereeing decision goes your way, you've got to make the game go your way.

"At times, we did that, but at others we didn't. It was just a little bit fractured, not quite where we needed to be for us to ever really take charge.

"If we'd have got the draw at the end, I don't think it would've been an unfair result for either side, but it was just one of those things where we came up short."

Gloucester: Woodward; Marshall, Twelvetrees, Atkinson, Thorley; Cipriani, Heinz (capt); Hohneck, Marais, Balmain, Savage, Mostert, Clarke, Ackermann, Morgan.

Replacements: Hanson, McAllister, Knight, Grobler, Ludlow, Braley, Williams, Banahan.

Exeter: Dollman; Cordero, Whitten, Hill, O'Flaherty; Simmonds, White; Hepburn, Yeandle (capt), Francis, Dennis, Hill, Ewers, Lonsdale, Kvesic.

Replacements: Taione, Keast, Holmes, Lees, Capstick, Maunder, Steenson, Hendrickson.

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys.

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