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Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Saturday, 1 October 2011 17:03 UK

Exeter Chiefs 13-17 Saracens

Exeter (6) 13
Tries: Baxter
Mieres Penalties: Mieres 2
Saracens (10) 17
Tries: Farrell, Hodgson
Conversions: Hodgson 2 Penalties: Farrell

Exeter v Saracens
Neither Exeter or Saracens has won at home in their previous Premiership meetings

Owen Farrell and Charlie Hodgson shared the points at Sandy Park as Premiership champions Saracens beat Exeter.

After taking an early 7-0 lead through Farrell's fourth-minute try, converted by Hodgson, Saracens were pegged back by a penalty from Ignacio Mieres.

Farrell and Mieres swapped penalties to leave Sarries 10-6 up at the break.

Hodgson wrapped it up when he converted his own score, but Richard Baxter's converted late consolation try earned Exeter a losing bonus point.

The Chiefs' late try came despite having to play the last 10 minutes with just 14 men when openside flanker James Scaysbrook went off injured. With on-loan Cornish Pirates prop Alan Paver also off, they continued with seven players in the pack and uncontested scrums.

After maintaining their unbeaten away record, Saracens stay second in the table, four points behind leaders Harlequins, who enjoyed a bonus-point win over Sale.

Exeter's head coach Rob Baxter had planned to make just one change to the starting line-up, with Aly Muldowney making his first start in the second row in place of fellow summer signing Peter Short. But the Chiefs boss was forced to make one other change when New Zealand Maori prop Hoani Tui failed a late fitness test on a torn calf.

The visitors had South Africa international Schalk Brits back at hooker after missing last weekend's win over Leicester, while James Short started on the left wing.

And they did not take long to get on the scoreboard when, with the referee playing the advantage, outside centre Farrell burst through to touch down, Hodgson adding the extras.

This was a big victory for us. Exeter are one of the best teams in the competition

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall

Mieres was then just short and wide with a penalty attempt from inside his own half but the Argentine made no mistake with his next attempt from 38 metres.

Farrell, who had taken over the kicking duties from a slightly dazed Hodgson, landed a 35-metre penalty to restore Sarries' seven-point advantage, but Mieres landed his second penalty when referee JP Doyle ruled that his front row had stood up twice at a 22-metre scrum.

With 40 minutes on the clock, Saracens were awarded another penalty on the Chiefs 22 and close to the left touchline, but Farrell's attempt went wide to leave the visitors 10-6 up at the break.

And they sealed victory approaching the midway point of the half when, after kicking a penalty to the right corner, the ball was worked into midfield, Shoemark came out of the line and Hodgson went through the gap before adding the extras.

Despite being a man down and with uncontested scrums, the Chiefs went in search of another score, replacement wing Bryan Rennie chipping ahead to collect the ball, only to lack support.

But Exeter were finally rewarded for their efforts when Barrett took a tap penalty and, although he reached for the line and was stopped short, Baxter took on the charge for the vital touchdown, which Mieres converted.


Exeter Chiefs assistant coach Ali Hepher told BBC Radio Devon:
"You can't fault this group of players, they're fantastic. They keep rising to any challenge in front of them.

"We knew it was tough to break them down, and we did actually break them down on several occasions, but our conversion rate was very poor.

"We're slightly disappointed we didn't finish off the good work we'd done, and a couple of silly penalties cost us."

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall:

"This was a big victory for us. Exeter are one of the best teams in the competition at the moment and we knew that we had to master their physicality. We took our chances when they came along.

"We knew that we had to bounce back from the defeat at Wasps but, since then, we've had three difficult away games at Bath, Leicester and now Exeter.

"They have all been very different games and last week we threw the ball about a bit and won in a certain way."


Exeter: Arscott; Sestaret, Naqelevuki, Shoemark, Jess; Mieres, Thomas; Sturgess, Whitehead, Andress; Hayes, Muldowney; Johnson, Scaysbrook, Baxter.

Replacements: Moon for Sturgess (43), Clark for Whitehead (51), Paver for Andress (54), Rennie for Sestaret (61), Barrett for Thomas (61), White for Scaysbrook (75).

Not Used: Phillips, Steenson.

Saracens: Goode; Strettle, Farrell, Barritt, Short; Hodgson, de Kock; Gill, Brits, Nieto; Borthwick, Botha; Wray, Fraser, Joubert.

Replacements: Kruis for Botha (51). Maddock for Short (52), Carstens for Gill (52), George for Brits (60), Powell for Hodgson (66), Vunipola for Nieto (68), Spencer for de Kock (75).

Not Used: Saull.

Attendance: 6,793.

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see also
Exeter 21-11 Wasps
25 Sep 11 |  Rugby Union
Leicester 25-50 Saracens
24 Sep 11 |  Rugby Union
Rugby Union commentaries
14 Feb 13 |  Rugby Union

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