Exeter Chiefs Beaten 40-5 by Harlequins on Saturday

    Harlequins thrashed Exeter 40-5 to win Big Game 14 at Twickenham and move up to fifth place in the Premiership.


    Harlequins 40 Exeter Chiefs 5

    Harlequins thrashed Exeter 40-5 to win Big Game 14 at Twickenham and move up to fifth place in the Premiership.

    After Caden Murley's early score, Exeter had Harvey Skinner sin-binned and Quins added three more against 14 as Josh Bassett, Sam Riley and Joe Marchant secured a bonus point.

    Jack Innard got Exeter on the board early in the second half.

    But a second try for Marchant and one for Stephan Lewies completed the rout as Exeter drop to seventh

    The victory extended Harlequins' unbeaten run in their Big Game series at Twickenham to nine matches - they were last beaten at RFU headquarters by Saracens in December 2011.

    Having seen Josh Bassett yellow-carded for a fifth-minute deliberate knock-on, Quins should have gone behind soon after when Scott Sio knocked on Jacques Vermeulen's pass with the try line wide open.

    Despite Quins being down to 14 men, Marcus Smith showed why fans were delighted he was released by England as his wonderful chip over the Exeter line set Andre Esterhuizen free and he fed Murley for the opening try.

    Player of the match Smith's tactical kicking was superb and he was at the centre of much that was good about his side's at times scintillating attacking play.

    Skinner departed for the sin bin for a dangerous tackle on James Chisholm midway through the half and less than two minutes later Bassett added the second as Olly Woodburn made a mistake in the Chiefs defensive line and the former Wasps winger raced through the hole he had left and on to Esterhuizen's pass.

    It got worse for Exeter as first Danny Care spun off the back of a maul and delivered an audacious pass behind his back to replacement prop Riley for his first Premiership try, and then two minutes later a seven- pass move that began on Quins' own 40-metre line ended in Marchant going over, with Smith again having a part to play.

    When Exeter did get a chance, they blew it - they fashioned an overlap in the final minute of the half, but Josh Hodge's pass to a free Jack Nowell on the right wing missed his target.

    Having seen Nowell make a try-saving tackle on Nick David soon after the restart, Innard was mauled over from a five-metre lineout as Exeter finally opened their account.

    But another irresistible attack ended with a try as Care chipped through for Marchant to score in the corner with 23 minutes left and the rout was completed when Lewies went over from a rolling maul as Quins repeated their 2021 Premiership final win over Exeter at Twickenham.

    At the time of writing Exeter Chiefs are now in 7th position with 38 points with Bristol Bears in ninth and London Irish in eighth on 36 points. Gloucester and Harlequins are both on 39 points.

    Exeter's next game is at home to Newcastle Falcons next Saturday with a 2.30pm kick off before the England Six Nations game against France at 4.45pm. Italy take on Wales at 2.15pm.

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