Aviva Premiership: Exeter Chiefs stun leaders Harlequins
Last Updated: 03/03/13 8:03am
Exeter's Luke Arscott celebrates victory
Exeter completed an Aviva Premiership double over Harlequins with a 27-16 victory over the leaders and champions at the Twickenham Stoop.
The Chiefs needed a win to maintain their push for a Heineken Cup place and after a tense 60 minutes, they seized control with two tries in seven minutes.
Harlequins looked anything but a side with legitimate ambitions for an unprecedented treble as they disintegrated under pressure in the final quarter.
Quins appeared set to avenge October's defeat at Sandy Park as they raced ahead after just six minutes with a sublime try from Ugo Monye.
Quick lineout ball was swept out wide and with decoy runners seemingly everywhere, Monye arrived on a superb line to take a flat ball from Jordan Turner-Hall and charge over, with Nick Evans adding the extras.
But Exeter's gameplan was based around discipline and patience and they chipped away at the lead over the next 10 minutes, Gareth Steenson knocking over two penalties.
Evans missed a kick at goal from the touchline, before a charge up the middle by Jack Nowell earned the Chiefs a penalty for offside, which Steenson kicked.
Quins regained the lead when Alex Brown conceded a penalty as a scrum collapsed and this time Evans found the target, but when Ben Botica took over the kicking duties on the stroke of half-time, he missed a very kickable chance.
Two minutes into the second half Quins were penalised for hands in at a ruck and Steenson duly put the visitors ahead again at 12-10.
The game was turning into a kicking contest and two penalties from Botica followed, before Steenson kicked his fifth from five.
But just past the hour Exeter blew the game wide open. Steenson skipped and weaved his way through midfield and raced clear, only for Luke Arscott to knock on Matt Jess' pass 10 metres out with the line at his mercy.
It was only a temporary reprieve for Quins as three minutes later Steenson again broke through close to the line, before the ball was recycled and shippped out wide for Damian Welch to crash over.
Steenson's missed conversion was the only blip in a superb individual display from the fly-half and it made no difference as from a Quins drop-out, Arscott burst straight through the centre of a tired defence before diving gleefully over by the sticks to seal a deserved victory for Exeter.
Aviva Premiership 2012/13 Round 17
We look back at some of the best images from Round 17 in the Aviva Premiership.
Mark McCall praised winger David Strettle, a try-scorer in Saracens' 35-14 victory over London Welsh on Sunday
Saracens took full advantage of Harlequins' slip-up by beating London Welsh 35-14 to return to the top of the table.
- Mallinder's tip for Lancaster
- O'Shea frustrated by defeat
- Cockerill: Croft for England
- Elliott the hero for Saints
- Leicester hit Sale for six
- Booth savours derby victory
- Worcester display pleases Hill
- Worcester claim Wasps upset
- Heathcote keeps Bath believing
- Fiddes' Cent
- Leicester v Sale: Teams
- Quins v Exeter: Teams
- Saracens v L Welsh: Teams
- Northampton v L Irish: Teams
- Worcester v Wasps: Teams
- Bath v Gloucester: Teams
- Timely lift for Steenson
- Bragging rights
- Hopper: No time to relax