Chiefs perform their usual end game heroics but come up short at Vicarage Road
Saracens 40 Chiefs 22
A disappointing end to a wonderful season saw the Chiefs blown away by Sarries in a powerful first 20 minutes of the second half. With Heineken Cup rugby assured at Sandy Park next season and a theoretical (if somewhat unlikely) chance of still making the playoffs, Exeter started the game purposefully. The pack in particular took the game to Saracens, securing dominance in the scrum early on. Penalties were exchanged between Gareth Steenson and Owen Farrell (with the latter missing another long-range effort), when Exe broke committedly out of their own half. Naqer went close in the corner, but a lineout steal ensured that Chiefs kept possession and a couple of phases later, Tom Johnson was on hand to plough through the Sarries midfield and touch down under the posts, leaving a comfortable conversion for Steeno. The remainder of the half was typified by Exe kicking possession back to the hosts all too easily, numerous handling errors on both sides, while the penalty count against the visitors allowed Farrell to keep Sarries in the game.
With the score at 10-9 at the half and the Tribe in full voice, everything looked set for a gripping second period. However, it was Saracens who came out flying in the second half, moving up a gear and leaving Exeter trailing in their wake. Rustiness began to show for Exe, particularly among the players that hadn't seen much game time recently. A breakaway score from winger Short, some sweet interplay between forwards and backs saw prop Gill trundle over, and finally two wonderful pieces of interplay in the Sarries back division that resulted in tries for fullback Goode and replacement flyhalf Charlie Hodgson. Rob Baxter will undoubtedly be concerned that the Chiefs defence seemed highly porous during this period, but a rallying last twenty ensured an exciting end to the game. Tries from Chris Budgen and Matt Jess were just reward as the Chiefs pounded at the Sarries line, but there just wasn't enough time left in the game for Exe to catch up - the scoreline stood at 40-22 as the final whistle went.
So 5th place it is, in only our second season in the premiership - not bad for a team that many considered favourites for the drop. Although today did not see the best ever Chiefs' performance, we will look back on a year that saw the team exceed all expectation and hold our heads high.
Nice one Black Otter.
Never imagined that on the last day of the season the Chiefs would still have a chance of gaining 4th spot! There were some saying that they couldn't see where a try was coming from back a long. The team have taken us on a fantastic journey and we deserve a pat on the back for the support.
Well done lads, looking forward to next season and Hieneken Cup......yes, that's right, Heneken Cup rugby at Sandy Park
Thanks Black Otter
The team has done so well this season, but next will be the real test for our squad, coaches and the fitness team, playing in the HC and in a league where a lot of teams seem to be strengthening very well.
But they are up to the challenge, and up till now the signings seem top notch for the way we do things.
Another roller coaster next season.
Good sum up of the match black otter. During a chat with chad Slade last night he felt that the teams that play for their fans are the teams that succeed. He also said that we have been brilliant supporters especially away which has made this possible. So give yourselves a pat on the back!
Huge congratulations on your season! HC at Sandy Park, get ready for the likes of Munster or Toulouse... fantastic! Gutted for you that you didn't make the playoffs, but really glad that you seem to have the staff, squad and setup to cement a place in the Premiership and compete at the top!
Just got back from sunny Watford! Great game of rugby, pity we were on the wrong side of the scoreboard! Looked good in the first half but were blown away in the first 20 of the second. They sent on some of their excellent bench and played some lovely flowing moves - Charlie Hodgson was excellent - the best I've ever seen him play.
I reckon the Tribe out-shouted their fans and were very entertaining.
What a great sum up, the two visits to Glous and Wuss is something i will not forget for a while and in seasons to come I am sure we will look back on what has been a season that will hearald the begining of the next step of the ride. The great thing about this team is every member is so grounded, they are humble and take things as they come and dont take things for granted. I managed to grab a few words with Jessy last night, the first thing he said was thanks for all our support, no pretence or bull just such a nice guy. How lucky are we to have as Rob B said something different at this club. I am so proud to be a chiefs supporter and proud of what the guys do for rugby in Devon, so long overlooked... No more! Bring on next season, its going to be one hell of a ride
I look forward to coming to Sandy Park next season. We may have won yesterdays match but your fans created a home atmosphere for your team and were vocal and entertaining throughout.
Glad to hear Chris Budgen's got another year - the mans been a legend for you
Congratulations on your success this season, you are the success story of the premiership and long may it continue for you
Great to see so many of your fans at VR yesterday, even if didn't quite hit the heights Clermont raised a couple of weeks back.
I had spent the week wondering how we would cope with your big Fijian centre, but was somewhat surprised at his lack of mobility. can see now why you use him mainly as impact for the last 20 mins!
Congratulations on a great campaign.
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