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Page last updated at 20:56 GMT, Saturday, 8 May 2010 21:56 UK

Exeter Chiefs 37-8 Bedford Blues

Exeter (25) 37
Tries: Foster, Sturgess, Tui, Rennie, McKenzie. Cons: Steenson 2, Gray. Pens: Steenson 2.
Bedford (3) 8
Try: Davey. Pen: Dorrian.

Exeter Chiefs

Exeter strolled into the final of the Championship play-offs with a five-try win over Bedford at Sandy Park.

The Chiefs dominated from the outset, after Mark Foster's early try.

Further scores from props Brett Sturgess and Hoani Tui put Exeter 25-3 up at half-time, allowing them to ease off after the break.

But they still ran in two further tries through Bryan Rennie and Paul McKenzie, before Bedford got a late consolation from Liam Davey.

Fly-half Gareth Steenson was in fine form with the boot, slotting two conversions and two penalties, with replacement Danny Gray also kicking a conversion.

Bedford fly-half Myles Dorrian kicked a first-half penalty for the visitors.

We've earned the right to be in the final

Rob Baxter

The victory means that Rob Baxter's men now face a two-leg final against Bristol, who came through a hard-fought 28-15 win at home to London Welsh on Friday night.

Exeter will be hoping they can repeat the blistering start they enjoyed against the Blues when Bristol come to Sandy Park for the first leg of the final on Wednesday week (19 May, 1945 BST).

It only took 76-seconds for the Chiefs to make their attacking intentions known when Steenson's perfectly placed cross-field kick found Foster in space out wide, the winger duly taking advantage to cross in the corner.

We've got a great attitude - Baxter

The home fans did not have to wait long before their side troubled the scoreboard again.

A well-worked move down the blindside from a line-out just inside Bedford's 22, allowed Sturgess to edge over and it was 12-0 after 10 minutes.

Exeter continued to pile pressure on their visitors, who saw brief respite through Dorrian's penalty, before Tui was pushed over by a dominant Chiefs pack for their third try.

Two penalties from Steenson served to enforce the Chiefs' advantage, as the home side went in with a comfortable lead at the break.

With the wind in their favour in the second-half Bedford would have hoped to stage a resurgence, but Rennie's try within three minutes of the restart ended any doubts about the outcome.

A string of substitutions and stoppages disrupted the flow of the game as the clock wore on, but Baxter's men remained in control.


Bedford grew in confidence in the last 15 minutes and were rewarded for their endeavour by a late try from replacement winger Davey, who skilfully collected a high ball before beating a couple of defenders to touch down in the corner.

Not to be outdone, Exeter responded almost immediately, as McKenzie split the Blues defence down the middle for his side's fifth try.

The result means Baxter's charges have racked up 90 points in their last two home games with just 17 conceded, a record they would dearly like to continue when Bristol visit on Wednesday week.

The second leg is at the Memorial Stadium a week later (26 May, 1945 BST).

Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter told BBC Spotlight:

"We've got a great attitude at the moment, we're desperate to play well and we're dealing fantastically well with pressure.

"We seem to be settling into the games a lot better than the opposition at the moment and that is giving us a head start.

"We're feeling like we've got a great opportunity in front of us to make some history for Exeter Rugby Club and the players seem to be thriving on that.

"We've talked all season about earning our right to be where we are, and now we've earned the right to be in the final."

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see also
Bristol 28-15 London Welsh
07 May 10 |  Rugby Union
Chiefs braced for Bedford clash
06 May 10 |  Rugby Union
Exeter Chiefs 53-10 Nottingham
01 May 10 |  Rugby Union
London Welsh 16-15 Exeter Chiefs
17 Apr 10 |  Rugby Union
Exeter Chiefs 51-15 Doncaster
10 Apr 10 |  Rugby Union
Doncaster 19-21 Exeter Chiefs
03 Apr 10 |  Rugby Union
Exeter Chiefs 32-6 London Welsh
27 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union
Baxter confident of further improvement
19 Mar 10 |  Rugby Union

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