Premiership: Exeter Chiefs 22-19 Harlequins
|Exeter Chiefs (13) 22|
|Tries: Hill Cons: Simmonds Pens: Simmonds 5|
|Harlequins (11) 19|
|Tries: Ibitoye 2 Pens: Smith 3|
Exeter Chiefs started their Premiership campaign with a hard-fought win against Harlequins at Sandy Park.
Jonny Hill's try and two Joe Simmonds kicks put Exeter 13-11 up at half-time after Gabriel Ibitoye's score and a Marcus Smith penalty edged Quins ahead.
Nine further points from the boot of Simmonds ensured that last season's Premiership runners-up prevailed.
But Quins made the hosts work hard when Ibitoye's second try got them to within three points late on.
Quins at least picked up a losing bonus point in a Premiership opener that suffered from both sides having players still on international duty at the World Cup.
Three of Exeter's five that remain in Japan were in action just hours earlier, when Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie helped England through to the semi-finals with victory over an Australian side that included Chiefs team-mate Nic White.
Harlequins' Kyle Sinckler was among the try scorers for England, for whom club-mate Joe Marler came off the bench.
Meanwhile, in Devon, Ibitoye was a livewire for Quins from the outset, having an early try disallowed when his foot brushed the touchline on the way to crossing in the corner.
Smith soon gave the Londoners the lead, only for Simmonds to level things up with his first penalty on 24 minutes after a scrappy period from both sides.
Ibitoye then grabbed the game's first try, only for Hill to respond by crossing to edge Exeter ahead for the first time.
Further penalties were traded prior to the break, before a third successful three-pointer from Smith on 52 minutes put the visitors back in front.
But that was as good as it got for Quins, as three more Simmonds kicks put the result beyond doubt.
Victory came at a cost for Exeter, following the first-half loss of winger Olly Woodburn with a hamstring injury. But they now have Stuart Hogg available following World Cup duty with Scotland in Japan - and he could be a contender for next Friday night's trip to Bath.
Exeter head coach Ali Hepher told BBC Radio Devon:
"We always knew this period might be a bit difficult without our full squad, with guys who haven't had much game time. But the important thing is that we won, although we know we have plenty to work on.
"Olly Woodburn knew there was a slight tweak there. We'll have to assess it over the next 48 hours, see how bad it is and get him back on the pitch as soon as possible.
"Stuart Hogg is itching to play too. He's been in for a couple of sessions and we'll have a look at it on Monday.
"It's a short turn around ahead of the trip to Bath next Friday night and we've got a lot of decisions to make."
Exeter Chiefs: Bodilly; O'Flaherty, Whitten, Hendrickson, Woodburn; J Simmonds, J Maunder; Hepburn, Yeandle (capt), Williams, Dennis, J Hill, Kirsten, Vermeulen, S Simmonds.
Replacements: S Hill for Woodburn (32), Moon for Hepburn (52), Street for Williams (52), Kvesic for Kirsten (54), Lonsdale for Dennis (66), S Maunder for J Maunder (75).
Not used: Taione, Steenson.
Harlequins: Brown; Murley, Marchant, Tapuai, Ibitoye; Smith, Landajo; Garcia Botta, Baldwin, Collier, Symons, Lewies, Robshaw (capt), Evans, Lawday.
Replacements: Lambert for Garcia Botta (55), Kerrod for Collier (55), Dombrandt for Evans (55), Young for Lewies (64), Lang for Smith (68), Mulchrone for Landajo (71), Elia for Baldwin (71), Morris for Murley (72).
Referee: Christophe Ridley (England).