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Category: Exeter

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Sam Simmonds steps up as Exeter edge Glasgow in Champions Cup thriller

• Exeter 24-15 Glasgow• Late Sam Simmonds try seals Champions Cup win for ChiefsThis had all the makings of a classic and it was Exeter who started their Champions Cup campaign with a bang as they edged an entertaining clash.In a game which swung back …

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Exeter and Tony Rowe make it their priority to become Chiefs of Europe | Robert Kitson

The chairman has not overseen the rise from the ramshackle County Ground to the Champions Cup without thinking bigger than most and now he wants the Premiership champions to take the final stepThere cannot be another office anywhere in Europe quite lik…

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England’s Jack Nowell set to miss Australia and Argentina Tests

• Jack Nowell injured a cheekbone playing for Exeter Chiefs
• Stuart Lancaster responds to Rob Andrew criticism

England’s autumn international plans are facing further disruption with Exeter’s Jack Nowell the latest player to be forced out through injury. The British & Irish Lions winger is still undergoing checks after he sustained a blow to his left cheek and it is understood he is unlikely to resume playing for at least five weeks, ruling him out of the November Tests against Argentina and Australia.

Nowell, who has scored 11 tries in 31 Tests for England, was hurt in the first half of the Chiefs’ 34-24 win against Newcastle and his left eye remains badly swollen. Scans are still being carried out to determine the full extent of the damage but the 24-year-old Cornishman is a certain non-starter for his club’s opening two European Champions Cup pool games, against Glasgow Warriors and Montpellier this month.

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Bloodied Jack Nowell an injury concern for Exeter as Sam Simmonds impresses

• Exeter unsure of extent of damage to Nowell’s cheek
• Simmonds’s try against Newcastle was his fifth in as many appearances

Exeter’s brief return to the top of the Premiership, of which they are the champions, was marred by the uncertainty over an injury to Jack Nowell. The England wing was forced off in the 20th minute of the bonus-point win against Newcastle on Saturday. He left the field with blood pouring from his face after a collision, and never returned. Exeter are as yet unsure of the extent of the damage to his left cheek, but such is the injury crisis in English rugby the temptation to fear the worst would be understandable with the autumn internationals five weeks away.

Related: Exeter eager to emulate gold standard set by Saracens in Champions Cup | Paul Rees

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Exeter eager to emulate gold standard set by Saracens in Champions Cup | Paul Rees

Sarries, who are chasing a third successive European title, know the value of a fast start and it has not been lost on the Premiership champions, the Chiefs

There is no debate over Europe in rugby union. Everyone wants to be in and for the British teams who fail to make the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup, the tournament will end in Brexit tears. The debate over exit strategies will revolve around how to get out of trouble against Saracens, who are aiming to emulate Toulon by winning the tournament for a third successive season. Mark McCall’s side start next Sunday against Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens, a ground where they have not lost in the Premiership since 2013, and they will arrive armed with the boost of a 55-point haul against the Saints at Twickenham last month.

In the first round last season Saracens stunned Toulon with their pace, power and precision at the Stade Félix Mayol and inflicted a first home defeat in the competition on the team they had succeeded as champions the season before. For all the talk at the tournament launches about the need to win at home and pick up at least a bonus point away, Saracens have learned the value of a fast start.

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Rugby union: talking points from the weekend

Matt O’Connor’s Tigers are evolving fast, Bath’s fledglings offer hope for the country and Quins’ Kyle Sinckler is at the mercy of the law book

The Tigers are changing their stripes. A side which for years built its foundation on set-pieces, an all-enveloping back row, controlling half-backs and immovable defence has evolved into one that can thrive on less than 50% possession. The midfield partnership of George Ford and Matt Toomua allows Leicester to react quickly in broken play and, after all the upheaval of the last few seasons, continuity has been a theme this season. Five rounds into the Premiership the director of rugby, Matt O’Connor, has made just one change in his back line, and that was enforced when Manu Tuilagi was injured after the opening weekend. The wings Jonny May and Nick Malouf have scored seven of the 12 league tries between them, profiting from a broader range of passing, and both added to their tally against the champions in a match in which the home side spent two-thirds of the match in their own half and had just 38% of possession. Paul Rees

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Exeter closing in on signing Saracens fly-half Alex Lozowski

• 24-year-old out of contract next summer and wanted by the Chiefs
• Lozowski behind Owen Farrell at Sarries and keen for first-team action

Exeter look set to win the race to sign the Saracens and England fly-half Alex Lozowski in a deal believed to be worth £350,000 a year. Lozowski is out of contract in the summer and has been linked with a move to his former club Wasps but the Observer understands the Chiefs are poised to land the 24-year-old for next season.

Related: Chris Wyles leads the way as Saracens sail past wretched Worcester

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Leicester face Exeter in a tale of two city clubs heading in opposite directions

Tigers may be losing money but they refuse to see a season extended to 10 months – ‘without players, we don’t have a game’ – as a solution to their problem

When Leicester last won the Premiership title it was at precisely this stage of the season in 2012 that they welcomed Exeter to Welford Road and promptly sent them packing back down to the West Country, tails between their legs. In the ensuing five years the sides’ relative progress has been nigh-on diametrically opposed – Exeter have soared, Leicester stagnated.

The comparison between the two is relevant because their similarities are in abundance. Both attempt to live within their means, there are rarely many empty seats when either play at home and both clubs have an earthiness to them. Not so long ago Leicester provided the blueprint for Saturday’s visitors, now the Chiefs are threatening to leave them behind.

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Exeter’s Henry Slade displays true quality in victory over Wasps

• Exeter Chiefs 31-17 Wasps
• Exeter stand two points clear at top of Premiership

Anyone who assumed Exeter would inevitably slip back into the chasing pack this autumn is forgetting what made the Chiefs champions last May. Whether it be a grey Sunday in Devon or a blazing summer’s afternoon at Twickenham Rob Baxter’s squad pride themselves on being men for all seasons and here was another good example. Last season’s triumph, if anything, has given them extra impetus.

The Chiefs’ status as top dogs in the Premiership after four games is all the more praiseworthy considering how many senior players are currently on the sidelines. Even with half their first XV missing and their dazed young back-row forward Sam Simmonds departing prematurely on a stretcher, they had far too much vim and vigour for an off-colour Wasps side whose own lengthy injury list appears to be nibbling away at their confidence and composure.

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Eddie Jones to name most of his Lions in England squad for autumn series

• England coach’s decision to reignite debate over player welfare
• Exeter’s Rob Baxter says overworked players claim is ‘codswallop’

Eddie Jones will on Friday reignite the debate over player welfare by naming the vast majority of his British & Irish Lions stars in a 33-man England squad for next week’s training camp in Oxford. Jones had indicated he might rest some Lions for the autumn series but it is now understood most will be involved at some stage during November.

Virtually all the Premiership-based Lions are back in action for their clubs and key men such as Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje, who played prominent roles in the summer drawn series against New Zealand, will have precious little scope for a lengthy break next year. England are due to play a best-of-three series in South Africa in June and four further autumn Tests at Twickenham in the buildup to the 2019 World Cup.

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Rob Baxter pays tribute to unflappable Exeter after win over London Irish

• Exeter 37-7 London Irish
• Don Armand scores two tries to give champions their opening victory

Rob Baxter praised the Premiership champions’ composure as Exeter bounced back from defeat at Gloucester in the season’s opening match with a comprehensive 37-7 defeat of London Irish at Sandy Park.

The Chiefs’ director of rugby said: “We had overall control of the match for long periods and it was very satisfying to pick up five points and concede only seven. We were a bit more composed today against a London Irish side who put in a big emotional performance last week in beating Harlequins at Twickenham.

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Rob Baxter pays tribute to unflappable Exeter after win over London Irish

• Exeter 37-7 London Irish
• Don Armand scores two tries to give champions their opening victory

Rob Baxter praised the Premiership champions’ composure as Exeter bounced back from defeat at Gloucester in the season’s opening match with a comprehensive 37-7 defeat of London Irish at Sandy Park.

The Chiefs’ director of rugby said: “We had overall control of the match for long periods and it was very satisfying to pick up five points and concede only seven. We were a bit more composed today against a London Irish side who put in a big emotional performance last week in beating Harlequins at Twickenham.

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Rob Baxter pays tribute to unflappable Exeter after win over London Irish

• Exeter 37-7 London Irish
• Don Armand scores two tries to give champions their opening victory

Rob Baxter praised the Premiership champions’ composure as Exeter bounced back from defeat at Gloucester in the season’s opening match with a comprehensive 37-7 defeat of London Irish at Sandy Park.

The Chiefs’ director of rugby said: “We had overall control of the match for long periods and it was very satisfying to pick up five points and concede only seven. We were a bit more composed today against a London Irish side who put in a big emotional performance last week in beating Harlequins at Twickenham.

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Rugby union: talking points from the Premiership’s opening weekend

Bath’s poor away form could be a thing of the past, Gloucester broke their habit of poor starts as they upset Exeter and London Irish returned in style

Todd Blackadder was in little doubt over where Bath needed to improve this season. Poor away form was not a problem limited to his side last season but there can be little doubting it ultimately cost them a place in the last four. Blackadder believes the issue was mental; that for no reason other than different surroundings his team did not play with the authority they did at The Rec in front of their own supporters. So in pre-season Blackadder took his squad on the road to Cardiff and London Irish to jolt them out of their comfort zone. Judging by their resilience at Welford Road it has worked a treat and, considering he can welcome Sam Underhill, Charlie Ewels and Dave Attwood back to bolster his pack, there is genuine reason for early-season optimism at Bath. Gerard Meagher

Match report: Leicester 23-27 Bath
The Recap: our best coverage straight to your inbox

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Jason Woodward’s late try gives Gloucester win over champions Exeter

• Gloucester 28-21 Exeter
• Injury-hit Chiefs begin title defence on the wrong foot

Exeter knew the defence of their Aviva Premiership title would be testing and so it is already proving. Not since last October had they tasted defeat in this competition but a thrilling try in the final seconds by Gloucester’s Jason Woodward abruptly ended the Chiefs’ attempt to overtake Leicester’s long-standing record of 17 consecutive league victories.

The clock was already deep in the red when Woodward, who moved from Bristol in the summer, plunged over in the right corner to settle a breathless contest. The Cherry and Whites are still getting to know their new head coach, Johan Ackermann, but the South African, who guided the Lions to this year’s Super Rugby final, will be encouraged by his side’s first outing, particularly up front where his New Zealand international lock Jeremy Thrush capped a forceful performance with two first-half tries.

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Lack of Lions at big kick-off but plenty to savour in new Premiership season

Saracens are again the team to beat, champions Exeter must not rest on their laurels, Leicester look strong once more, but club v country rows will grow

He is far too laidback to acknowledge it but Jamie George provides the ideal case study to best explain the tangled web that is the domestic season – a campaign that kicks off on Friday with its unique blend of annual optimism and unseemly self-interest. The 26-year-old Saracens and British & Irish Lions hooker started all three Tests in New Zealand in a series the All Blacks were expected to waltz through, only for Warren Gatland’s troops to come away with a draw against the odds. More on those odds later, for they are a large part of the problem.

Related: Lions do themselves ‘damage’ with tour reduction talk, says Premiership Rugby

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Rob Baxter and Exeter’s merry men aim to follow Clough path to European glory

After their thrilling extra-time win against Wasps to win Premiership title, the Chiefs seek to follow the Nottingham Forest side of the late 70s

So much for a mellow bank holiday weekend beside the river Exe. Never before has the West Country played host to a Monday afternoon street parade to salute England’s league champions and the warm and fuzzy feeling from Newlyn to Newton Abbot is equally unprecedented. Even for those locals still crawling back from “the Smoke” or struggling to raise heads off pillows, the thrill will take a lifetime to fade.

Three contrasting post-match snapshots showed what it all meant. Rob Baxter’s genuine fly-in-the-eye emotion on the pitch and the receiving line of supporters waiting to shake the hand of the chairman, Tony Rowe, both summed up the storybook nature of the Chiefs’ crowning achievement but the most telling image was the picture of the entire squad blinking in the Sunday morning light outside Gareth Steenson’s bar-cum-garage, all cheerfully clad as Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

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Exeter Chiefs champions after epic win over Wasps completes fairytale rise

• Wasps 20-23 Exeter (aet; score at 80min 20-20)
• Exeter’s Gareth Steenson stays cool after Wasps fumble their way to defeat

A final between the two most prolific teams in the Premiership was decided by a kick rather than a try. Gareth Steenson’s penalty three minutes from the end of extra time after Wasps, who by then had lost both their tight-head props to injury, had infringed at a scrum for the seventh time, settled a full-blooded but scrappy encounter that saw Exeter crowned champions seven years and one day after they won promotion to the Premiership.

Related: Wasps 20-23 Exeter – Chiefs crowned Premiership champions – as it happened

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Exeter Chiefs champions after epic win over Wasps completes fairytale rise

• Wasps 20-23 Exeter (aet; score at 80min 20-20)
• Exeter’s Gareth Steenson stays cool after Wasps fumble their way to defeat

A final between the two most prolific teams in the Premiership was decided by a kick rather than a try. Gareth Steenson’s penalty three minutes from the end of extra time after Wasps, who by then had lost both their tight-head props to injury, had infringed at a scrum for the seventh time, settled a full-blooded but scrappy encounter that saw Exeter crowned champions seven years and one day after they won promotion to the Premiership.

Related: Wasps 20-23 Exeter – Chiefs crowned Premiership champions – as it happened

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Wasps v Exeter Chiefs: Premiership final – live!

1.50pm BST

So, a few quick-fire stats and facts to get us started then.

All four of Wasps’ past Premiership triumphs (2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008) have come after finishing second in the league. This season, they finished first. Exeter have not won at Twickenham in six previous visits. But victory for the Chiefs would equal Leicester’s Premiership record of 17 matches unbeaten. And the man in the middle this afternoon, JP Doyle, the 37-year-old Dubliner, trained to be a secondary school teacher down the road at St Mary’s University.

1.41pm BST

Wasps: Le Roux; Wade, Daly, Gopperth, Bassett; Cipriani, Robson; Mullan, Taylor, Swainston, Launchbury (capt), Symons, Haskell, Young, Hughes

Replacements: Johnson, McIntyre, Moore, Myall, Thompson, Simpson, Leiua, Halai

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