Match Reports

Exeter claim opening weekend victory over Harlequins

Saturday, 19th October 2019 @ 15:00

Quins fell to a narrow defeat away at Exeter, losing 22-19 to open the Gallagher Premiership campaign.

It proved to be a closely contested opening 40 minutes, with both sides showing dominance in attack and defence, particularly Quins who withstood a spell of constant pressure in their own half.

Supporters that made the long trip down to Exeter where almost given an early reason to cheer, with Ibitoye crossing the line after Lewies won the line out and Landajo surprised everyone by going out to the far side, offloading to Ibitoye who touched the ball down, but the referee Christophe Ridley spotted a foot in touch and the no try decision was made.

It wasn’t long until Quins got the score board moving, after Marcus Smith slotted through the posts from the penalty on eight minutes, only seconds after nearly setting up Ibitoye with a beautiful cross field kick.

Both sides enjoyed spells of possession for the next 15 minutes, before Chiefs joined Quins on the scoreboard, levelling the scored to 3-3 after Joe Simmonds successfully converted the penalty.

It was an element of deja vu on the 27th minute after another quick penalty in successive matches from Martin Landajo, passing it out to Gabs Ibitoye who crossed the line in the corner – another outstanding moment from Quins’ new scrum half. Marcus Smith narrowly missed the conversion, giving Quins a 3-8 lead.

Exeter responded minutes later, turning their relentless possession into points, when second row Jonny Hill drove the ball over the line, giving Exeter a two-point lead following Simmonds’ successful conversion. 10-8.

Four minutes before the break, Chiefs were awarded another penalty, with Simmonds slotting through the sticks again, extending Chiefs’ first half lead to 13-8.

But a resilient Harlequins were determined to close the gap, with Marcus Smith adding three from the penalty as the side headed in for the half time break 13-11.

In the second half, Quins again looked a threat from the lineout, with Gabs Ibitoye breaking through the defence but Brown was stopped five from the line. Quins kept attacking and eventually turned possession into a penalty. Marcus added the three to give Quins a 13-14 lead after 51 minutes.

After 54 minutes, Exeter regained the lead through another penalty and Gustard made a host of changes, with Alex Dombrandt on for Will Evans, and both props being replaced, seeing Mark Lambert and Simon Kerrod on the pitch.

With 13 minutes left on the clock, Chiefs extended their lead to 19-14 after a Simmonds penalty, before adding another three points with 10 minutes remaining.

Gustard responded with a trio of changes, bringing Mulchrone, Morris and Elia on in place of Landajo, Murley and Baldwin.

On the 74th minute, the referee goes to the TMO after Ibitoye crossed the line, reviewing a possible forward pass from Dombrandt to Ibitoye in the build-up and seeing if Gabs put a foot out of touch. However, referee Ridley awarded the try after a long review and Quins closed the gap to 22-19, much to the displeasure of the home crowd.

The referee pulled back play with just over three minutes to go after a high tackle, awarding the penalty to Chiefs who go for the line after kicking into touch, but Quins defend well and turned over the ball. It was unfortunately not to be for Quins, despite a spirited display, with Exeter claiming the win.

Quins return to action on Saturday 26 October, facing Bristol Bears at The Stoop. Tickets are available here