Premiership: Gloucester 15-26 Exeter Chiefs

Stuart Hogg (centre) celebrates Exeter's late try
Stuart Hogg (centre) put Scotland's poor start to the Six Nations behind him as the full-back helped Exeter Chiefs to victory at Kingsholm
Gallagher Premiership
Gloucester (3) 15
Tries: Polledri, Rees-Zammit Con: Twelvetrees Pen: Twelvetrees
Exeter (7) 26
Tries: Vermeulen, Hogg Cons: Steenson 2 Pens: Steenson 4

Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs recorded their fifth win in six league games with victory at Gloucester.

Exeter led 7-3 at half-time thanks to Jacques Vermeulen's converted try before Gareth Steenson then kicked four penalties to extend their advantage.

The Chiefs were firmly in control once returning Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg ran in a counter-attacking try.

Gloucester hit back through Jake Polledri and Louis Rees-Zammit but were unable to salvage a losing bonus point.

Heavy rain and a swirling wind made for difficult conditions, with both sides making handling errors, although Exeter impressed with a battling and clinical second-half performance at Kingsholm.

Gloucester dominated possession after flanker Vermeulen powered over from close range in the 10th minute, yet the Cherry and Whites were unable to make the most of their opportunities to score - with Billy Twelvetrees' penalty all they had to show for their efforts at half-time.

Exeter, with the wind behind them after the break, began to exert their dominance and Steenson added 12 points with the boot in the space of 12 minutes as Gloucester paid the price for ill-discipline at the breakdown.

Hogg, back with Exeter after captaining Scotland in their first two games in the Six Nations, started the move for his side's second try.

He picked up in his own 22 before feeding Sam Simmonds then, after receiving a return offload from the number eight, he then accelerated down the left flank to cross.

The hosts eventually found gaps in the Chiefs defence in the final 10 minutes as Italy forward Polledri burrowed over and teenage winger Rees-Zammit was adjudged to have touched down in the right-hand corner following a consultation with the television match official.

That took the 19-year-old Welshman's try haul to six tries in just five league games - making him the Premiership's joint top scorer, along with Saracens flanker Ben Earl.

Gloucester remain a place and a point above fifth-placed Bristol Bears having suffered back-to-back defeats, while Exeter move five points clear at the top ahead of second-placed Northampton's home game against the Bears on Sunday (15:00 GMT).

Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

"The stats will show we had a lot of possession and territory. We have probably won a lot of things like carries and line-breaks.

"But, without the ball, we gave away a lot of silly penalties which them the opportunity to build the score and take the game out of our hands.

"We didn't capitalise on the opportunities we had close to their goal line. It wasn't a lack of heart, commitment and effort.

"It was poor decision-making, our contact skills and discipline which took the game too far for us."

Exeter boss Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon:

"It will be fantastic for Stuart Hogg to have a picture in the papers of him touching down. It was a perfect tonic for him as his performance was faultless and he took his one opportunity to deliver the killer blow.

"We know that Gareth Steenson is an exceptional goal-kicker but he was an example in the way he led defensively for us. Gloucester targeted him with a lot of one-off runners coming down his channel and it pleased me more than his goal-kicking that he stood up to that defensive task.

"We've been criticised for not taking kickable points in the past so we thought we'd abandon our flair and kick the penalties as it was important that we continued to build points on the scoreboard.

"Our set-piece was really good. The players toughed it out. They stood and fought long enough to secure victory but we did run out of puff at the end."

Gloucester: Banahan; Rees-Zammit, Harris, Twelvetrees, Marshall; Cipriani, Simpson; Rapava-Ruskin, Marais, Balmain, Grobler, Mostert (capt), Ackermann, Ludlow, Morgan.

Replacements: Gleave, Hohneck, Knight, Slater, Clarke, Polledri, Braley, Atkinson.

Exeter: Hogg; O'Flaherty, Whitten, S Hill, Woodburn; Steenson (capt), White; Moon, Taione, Williams, Kirsten, J Hill, Ewers, Vermeulen, Simmonds.

Replacements: Poole, Keast, Pieretto, S Skinner, Kvesic, Maunder, H Skinner, Dollman.

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys.

Top Stories