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Page last updated at 18:54 GMT, Saturday, 23 October 2010 19:54 UK

Premiership: Exeter Chiefs 9-12 London Irish

Exeter (6) 9
Pens: Steenson 2 Drop-goals: Davis
London Irish (6) 12
Pens: Lamb 4

Ryan Lamb
Four penalties from Lamb gave Irish victory

Fly-half Ryan Lamb kicked London Irish to victory over battling Exeter and back to the top of the Premiership.

After Exeter fly-half Gareth Steenson missed a penalty, Irish's Lamb made no mistake to put his side ahead.

With try-scoring chances a rarity, the two players exchanged penalties to leave the scores level at half-time.

Chiefs replacement fly-half Ryan Davis put his side in front with a drop goal, but two further penalties from Lamb ensured Irish claimed the spoils.

The outcome of the match was far certain after a nervy opening in which both sides struggled to control the ball on the slippery surface.

Lamb put Irish in front in the 17th minute, but a Steenson penalty five minutes later brought the scores level.

Ferocious defence and first-rate tackling from both sides meant try-scoring chances were limited.

Steenson and Lamb exchanged penalties again and the war of attrition continued after the restart, but significantly Exeter's lineout began to show cracks.

Having lost Delon Armitage to the sin-bin in the 46th minute for a high tackle on Andrew Higgins, Irish coped admirably, keeping the play tight.

Exeter lost their most potent attacking weapon when Steenson limped off with a foot injury.


His replacement Ryan Davis wasted no time in making his presence felt, expertly kicking a drop-goal to round off an Exeter attack and put his side ahead.

Going behind galvanised the Exiles and several periods of intense pressure on the Chiefs' try line followed.

A knock-on by Davis led to a penalty, which Lamb converted to level the scores.

Lamb skilfully orchestrated play, putting his pack deep into opposition territory, a ploy that was rewarded with a 75-minute penalty, which gave the visitors victory.

Exeter's losing-bonus point puts them eight points clear of bottom-of-the-table Leeds.

Exeter Chiefs captain Tom Hayes told BBC Radio Devon:
"We've got a point out of the game, but given that we were up with 10 minutes to go you'd still like to close the game out from there.

"A couple of errors cost us really and we do need to try and keep hold of the ball a bit more and impose ourselves on the opposition a little bit.

"We said we're going to be positive and attack every game as an opportunity to get points and we've got a point, but it still is ultimately a disappointment."

London Irish coach Toby Booth:
"It was a game of two halves - they won the first and we won the second.

"I was really impressed with Exeter, they were well organised, well coached and very committed.

"Our lineout grew much stronger as the game wore on. We used our Premiership experience of previous pressure cookers to get us home."

Exeter: Arscott, Higgins, Dollman, Rennie, Foster, Steenson, Thomas, Sturgess, Clark, Budgen, Hayes, Hanks, Johnson, Scaysbrook, Baxter.

Replacements: Naqelevuki for Rennie (66), Davis for Steenson (61), Whitehead for Clark (74), Tui for Budgen (58), Kimlin for Hanks (70), Slade for Baxter (71).
Not Used: Moon, Cowley.

London Irish: D. Armitage, Ojo, Mapusua, Bowden, Tagicakibau, Lamb, Hodgson, Dermody, Paice, Corbisiero, Kennedy, Casey, Roche, Hala'ufia, Stowers.

Replacements: Buckland for Paice (54), Rautenbach for Corbisiero (54), Garvey for Casey (62), Low for Hala'ufia (76).
Not Used: Murphy, Joseph, Malone, Allinson.

Att: 10,103

Ref: Wayne Barnes (RFU).

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see also
Guscott's predictions
24 Oct 10 |  English
Baxter pleased with cup progress
20 Oct 10 |  Exeter
Bourgoin 19-34 Exeter
15 Oct 10 |  Exeter
Ospreys 27-16 London Irish
15 Oct 10 |  Ospreys

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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES Ryan Lamb helps London Irish survive fright at hands of Exeter Chiefs - 17 hrs ago
RBS Six Nations Late Lamb penalty keeps Exiles on top - 33 hrs ago
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