Chiefs stay on top as Saints leave it late to sting Wasps

By Sports Desk January 05, 2020

Exeter Chiefs and Northampton Saints continue to set the pace in the Premiership after the top two in the table both won on Sunday.

Leaders Exeter were coasting to victory away at London Irish when they led 28-7 at the break, four first-half tries securing them a bonus point inside 40 minutes.

Sam Hill touched down for the second time in the game early in the second half to extend the advantage, yet London Irish refused to go away.

The Chiefs had both Olly Woodburn and Ollie Devoto sin-binned, forcing them to play seven minutes with only 13 men, as the Exiles cut the gap to 14 points when Steve Mafi grabbed their fourth try.

Yet Gareth Steenson kicked a 67th-minute penalty following on from his six successful conversion attempts, as Exeter triumphed 45-28.

There were plenty of points – plus a red card – as Northampton prevailed 35-31 at the Ricoh Arena thanks to a late try from Taqele Naiyaravoro.

The visitors were without Tom Collins, dismissed for serious foul play, and the sin-binned Cobus Reinach when they scored in the 78th minute, replacement Naiyaravoro barging his way to the line.

They had led 28-10 early in the second half when Reinach crossed for the second time, yet Wasps hit back with 21 unanswered points, a scoring spree that seemingly put them on course to triumph over 13 men.

However, Northampton overcame their numerical disadvantage to snatch the win, meaning they remain a point behind Exeter.

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