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Page last updated at 17:07 GMT, Saturday, 30 October 2010 18:07 UK

Saracens 9-23 Exeter

Saracens (3) 9
Pens: Goode 3
Exeter (10) 23
Tries: Davis, Sturgess Con: Davis 2 Pen: Davis 2

Exeter Chiefs
Davis (r) celebrates with Chiefs flanker James Scaysbrook

Ryan Davis, on his first Premiership start, helped Exeter to their first away win of the season at Saracens.

Davis and his opposite man Alex Goode traded early penalties, before the Exeter man scored the game's opening try on the stroke of half-time.

Saracens upped their game after the break, but Exeter's defence held firm, with only two penalties from Goode.

As the match approached its conclusion, Chiefs prop Brett Sturgess went over to seal his side's famous victory.

Davis rounded things off by converting Sturgess' touchdown, and then kicking a third penalty shortly before the final whistle, adding extra gloss to the score.

The 24-year-old was only included in Exeter's starting XV following a knee injury to regular number 10 Gareth Steenson against London Irish last week.


Davis was first called into action on 20 minutes, when after Saracens had failed to garner any points from a blistering opening spell, he was given a penalty chance 40 metres out, from where he made no mistake.

Goode brought things back onto level terms with a penalty of his own as Saracens continued to look dangerous with the ball in hand.

The first try came shortly before the interval, Luke Arscott and Andrew Higgins combining well to bring play to within metres of the Sarries try line.

As the ball was recycled, Davis found space to dart through near the posts, touching down to send shockwaves around Vicarage Road.

Saracens reappeared after the break with England internationals David Strettle and Brad Barritt promoted from the bench, a clear message of intent from director of rugby Brendan Venter.

Yet despite throwing attack after attack at Exeter's defence, the best Saracens could manage was two penalties from Goode.

Having soaked up the pressure and with the final whistle in sight, Exeter pushed up field from where a loose pass was seized upon by Davis.

The fly-half flipped the ball up for Sturgess, who raced in from 20 metres out, sending the visiting supporters into raptures, with the side's first Premiership win on the road secure.

Saracens rugby director Brendan Venter:
"From my point of view it's amazing what you can achieve with a collective will. They came here with a team of unknowns, got stuck into us and deserved to win.

"When you analyse the game we have created an unbelievable number of chances and had a few little things gone right I think we would have gone on to win.

"Their defence was excellent but the bottom line is they played as a team and today we played as individuals. Yet when I watch the video I think I'll find we were not as bad as I thought.

"Of course I'm disappointed but what do I do - kick a chair, shout, or throw water? No, you have to give credit where it is due."

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter:
"We felt we needed to make a breakthrough versus a major team.

"We'd done well away from home but repeatedly come up short, so to see the job through is special.

"We're a confident bunch with self-belief. But you also have to work for what you achieve at this level and we had three separate periods when we had to defend for our lives.

"I was proud of the way the lads retained their focus. We have showed that when you want something badly enough and are prepared to work for it you can succeed."

Saracens: Wyles; Cato, Ratuvou, Mordt, Tagicakibau; Goode, De Kock; Carstens, Reynecke, Nieto; Borthwick (c), Botha; Brown, Burger, Joubert.

Replacements: Strettle for Cato (41), Barrett for Mordt (41), Wigglesworth for de Kock (51), Skuse for Carstens (74), George for Reynecke (57), Smith for Botha (57), Melck for K. Brown (51), Parr for Barrett (69).

Exeter: Arscott; Higgins, Dollman, Rennie, Foster; Davis, Thomas; Brett, Sturgess, Clark; Budgen; Hayes (c), Hanks; Johnson, Scaysbrook, Baxter.

Replacements: Naqelevuki for Rennie (61), Alcott for Clark (54), Tui for Budgen (69), Kimlin for Hanks (78).
Not Used: Moon, Slade, Poluleuligaga, Matavesi.

Att: 6,512

Ref: Tim Wigglesworth (RFU)

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see also
Guscott's predictions
30 Oct 10 |  English
'Delighted' Henson joins Saracens
28 Oct 10 |  Saracens
Goode aims to fill Saracens void
25 Oct 10 |  Saracens
Newcastle 13-15 Saracens
22 Oct 10 |  English
Exeter swoop for fly-half Mieres
25 Oct 10 |  Exeter
Exeter 9-12 London Irish
23 Oct 10 |  English

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