Exeter Chiefs prop Harry Williams has signed a new "long-term" contract with the Premiership leaders.

Williams, capped 18 times by England, has made almost 100 appearances for the Chiefs since his move from Championship side Jersey Reds.

The 28-year-old is set to add many more after agreeing a new deal.

"It was an easy decision to make," said Williams. "I've been here five years now and I'm very happy down here. Ever since I came to the club, it's been awesome and I've loved pretty much every minute of it.

"I knew when I left Jersey that I was moving to an ambitious club, who would bring the best out of me and challenge me in a testing environment. That's been the case from day one, but I still feel there is still more to come from me."

The Chiefs did not disclose details of the length of Williams' latest contract.

The uncompromising Williams says Rob Baxter's men are determined to scale new heights when the season resumes after being halted due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"I think for everyone at the club, we're not happy sitting on our laurels and just accepting that we're going do this and that," added Williams.

"As a professional, you always feel you can kick on and get more out of yourselves. Here at Exeter, everything is laid out for us and the club give us a great foundation from which to build.

"I'll admit, when I first came here I didn't really have any so-called affiliation with the club or the city. Now, it's pretty much home for me and I'm looking forward to what the future holds."

The Premiership has been suspended for five weeks and the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Premiership Rugby's decision followed new guidance from the United Kingdom government on Monday.

British prime minister Boris Johnson encouraged people to avoid mass gatherings and all "non-essential" travel and contact with others.

"The safety of our fans, players and staff is our first priority, and we would like to wish all of those who are affected our heartfelt best wishes and a very speedy recovery," a Premiership Rugby statement read.

"We'll continue to work closely with DCMS [the Departure for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] and Public Health England, and to follow the advice of medical experts, and work with our clubs to help them to support their own wider communities at this time."

The decision to call off the European rugby season was taken during a conference call on Monday.

It means the matches in the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup scheduled for April 3, 4 and 5 will not now go ahead as planned, although organisers hope to rearrange the fixtures for later dates.

In a statement, the board of European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) said: "While respecting all further directives by governments and local authorities, EPCR, in conjunction with the relevant leagues and unions, remains committed to trying to find a solution which will enable it to complete the 2019-20 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournaments at such a time as that aligns with preventative measures undertaken by an overwhelming majority of sport's governing bodies and tournament organisers in Europe.  

"EPCR's priority is the health and welfare of players and club staff, and an update regarding the knockout stages of the tournaments will be communicated to all stakeholders as soon as practicable."

Sam Simmonds and Olly Woodburn scored doubles as Exeter Chiefs ran in eight tries to obliterate Bath 57-20, sealing their return to the top of the Premiership.

Sale moved into first place on points difference with their emphatic win over London Irish on Friday, but Exeter swiftly returned to the summit with a dominant performance of their own.

They were 36-3 up when number eight Simmonds' second try one minute into the second half was successfully converted.

Bath then touched down three times to make the scoreline more respectable but could not avoid defeat, with Woodburn and Jack Maunder increasing Exeter's margin of victory in the closing stages.

Elsewhere on Saturday, a Saracens team that included Mako Vunipola earned a 24-13 home win over struggling Leicester Tigers thanks to two Alex Lewington tries.

Controversy has surrounded Vunipola, who was stood down by England for their Six Nations match against Wales after returning from Tonga via Hong Kong amid coronavirus fears, even though he has not displayed symptoms.

Ben White ran in Leicester's only try of the match in the second half to put his side ahead, but the momentum changed when Dominic Morris crossed for Sarries just after the visitors had Telusa Veainu sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on.

Wasps claimed a third straight win under Lee Blackett to move above Bath and up to fifth place as they saw off Gloucester at the Ricoh Arena.

The hosts triumphed 39-22, having scored 22 unanswered points in the first 30 minutes. Gloucester have now suffered six consecutive defeats across all competitions.

Tom Hendrickson grabbed two tries as rampant Exeter beat Northampton 57-7 to pull eight points clear at the top of the Premiership.

Northampton arrived at Sandy Park with their hopes of being involved in a battle for first place possibly hinging on the outcome, and the thumping nature of their defeat was painful for Saints.

Hosts Exeter could not breach the try-line in the opening half-hour, having just a penalty from Joe Simmonds to show for their initial endeavours.

Jonny Hill, Elvis Taione and Jannes Kirsten then crossed in quick succession to put the Chiefs in charge by the break, building a 22-0 lead after taking advantage of a yellow card for Tom Collins.

Hendrickson went over twice in the second half, with Ben Moon, Tom O'Flaherty and Sam Simmonds taking the home side's try count to eight.

James Grayson dotted down a consolation for Northampton, who now sit fourth, nine points adrift of Exeter, with their points difference having taken a battering.

Bristol jumped above Northampton into third place after a 13-10 home win over Worcester.

Eight points from the boot of Callum Sheedy and a Luke Morahan try gave the Bears their narrow win.

Nick David's try early in the second half for Warriors, converted by Duncan Weir, and a penalty from Scott van Breda kept it tight.

However, Sheedy's second penalty of the game in the 69th minute proved to be the match-winner, leaving Worcester down in 10th place.

Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs returned to winning ways with a battling 26-15 triumph at Gloucester on Friday.

Having lost to Sale Sharks last time out, the Chiefs made it five wins from six top-flight matches with Stuart Hogg scoring having returned to the team from Six Nations duty with Scotland.

Gloucester made a slow start and were punished when Jacques Vermeulen barged over to help Exeter into a 7-3 half-time lead at Kingsholm.

Four Gareth Steenson penalties stretched the advantage and Hogg showed good pace to dot down for Exeter's second try.

Gloucester responded through Jake Polledri and Louis Rees-Zammit, though the fightback started too late for the hosts.

Sale Sharks survived a second-half fightback from Exeter Chiefs to secure a hard-earned 22-19 victory over the Premiership leaders.

Having headed into Saturday's encounter on the south coast without a defeat in all competitions since November, Exeter found themselves trailing 22-5 at the interval after a blistering first-half display from the visitors.

With Tom O'Flaherty sent to the sin bin early on Exeter, Sale ran in three tries in the first half – Chris Ashton, Daniel du Preez and Byron McGuigan getting on the scoresheet.

Rob du Preez added a further seven points, though Phil Dollman's try had handed the Chiefs some hope and Exeter gained 14 points in the space of seven minutes to set up a grandstand finale.

But Sale held firm, clinching a victory that lifted them into third, four points behind Exeter.

Elsewhere, Wasps ran in three tries in the second half to come from behind and edge out Worcester Warriors 30-26, with Dan Robson's late try proving decisive in a bonus-point win.

Wasps are eighth, level on points with the Warriors and three shy of Bath, who just got the better of Leicester Tigers – Tom Homer's double ultimately securing a 13-10 victory.

Meanwhile, Bristol Bears snapped a three-match losing streak with a convincing 34-16 triumph over west country rivals Gloucester, who slipped into fourth.

Callum Sheedy kicked 19 of the Bears' points, converting five penalties in the first half, with Bristol going over three times after the break.

Jack Nowell missed out on a place in England's Six Nations squad as he is set to undergo ankle surgery.

Eddie Jones on Monday named eight uncapped players in a 34-man squad that did not include versatile Exeter Chiefs back Nowell.

Exeter revealed via Twitter the 26-year-old, like team-mate Henry Slade, was not deemed fit enough to feature in the tournament despite playing in the European Champions Cup victory over La Rochelle on Saturday.

Nowell recovered from an ankle operation to play in the Rugby World Cup last year, but the Chiefs confirmed he will go under the knife again.

Centre Slade is recovering from a broken leg sustained against Leicester Tigers in December.

Ulster secured a European Champions Cup quarter-final spot with a 22-15 defeat of Bath, while Northampton Saints and Glasgow Warriors stayed in the hunt for qualification on Saturday.

Clermont Auvergne sealed top spot in Pool 3 with a 26-19 victory at Harlequins, but Ulster knew a defeat of Bath would see them through as one of three best-placed runners-up.

The Pro14 side got the job done in the second half after the two sides were level at 7-7 at the break, Robert Baloucoune and Will Addison going over to add to a first-half try from Marcell Coetzee before Billy Burns was on target with a penalty.

Tries from Ruaridh McConnochie and Ross Batty, who was later red-carded for a no-arms tackle on John Cooney, were not enough for Bath to end the competition on a high note.

Northampton did all they could to advance as runners-up with a 36-24 victory at Top 14 high-flyers Lyon in Pool 1.

The Saints will go progress if either Saracens or Gloucester fail to pick up maximum points wins on Sunday after Mike Haywood, Teimana Harrison, Cobus Reinach, George Furbank and James Fish touched down in a bonus-point triumph at Matmut Stade de Gerland.

Glasgow must hope defending champions Sarries, whose relegation from the Premiership at the of the season for persistent salary-cap breaches was announced on Saturday, and Gloucester slip up after demolishing Sale Sharks 45-7 in Pool 2.

Leone Nakarawa set the tone early on with one of six Glasgow tries at the AJ Bell Stadium, where Adam Hastings scored 15 points from the tee.

Leinster made it six victories out of six in Pool 1 with an 18-0 defeat of Benetton Treviso, while Sam Simmonds grabbed a double as Pool 2 winners Exeter Chiefs saw off La Rochelle 33-14 at Sandy Park.

Beleaguered Sarries host Racing 92 on the final day of pool matches reeling from the announcement that they will drop of out of the Premiership, while Gloucester travel to Toulouse.

Saracens kept their European Champions Cup defence alive despite Rhys Carre's early red card at Ospreys, while Clermont Auvergne, Toulouse and Exeter Chiefs booked quarter-final spots.

Prop Carre was shown a straight red card for a shoulder-led tackle on Dan Evans just four minutes in, but the reigning champions went on to claim a crucial 22-15 triumph at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Fly-half Manu Vunipola was successful with his six efforts from the tee, which consisted of five penalties and the conversion of Alex Lewington's try off Richard Wigglesworth's box kick.

Sarries consequently moved up to second in Pool 4 and three points behind Racing 92, who face Munster on Sunday.

A battling 31-31 draw with Glasgow Warriors was sufficient for Exeter to reach the last eight for just the second time in their history, with only the crossbar denying them the win via a 60-yard Stuart Hogg penalty beyond the 80th minute against his former club.

Tommy Seymour touched down in the opening minute as the Warriors surged into an early 14-3 lead, but Matt Kvesic's double helped ensure the Chiefs got a bonus point and progressed as Pool 2 winners.

Second-half tries from Alivereti Raka and George Moala led Clermont from behind to a 29-13 win at home to Ulster, the Top 14 side taking control of Pool 3.

Toulouse guaranteed a last-eight berth by winning 21-7 at Connacht. Jerome Kaino, Julien Marchand and Pita Ahki cross for the visitors, who were reduced to 13 men in the closing stages when Zack Holmes saw red for a dangerous tackle after Yoann Huget was sent to the sin bin.

Gloucester lost Danny Cipriani to injury after 12 minutes but remained in contention to advance as one of the three best runners-up with a 29-6 bonus-point win against Montpellier.

Ben Morgan, Louis Rees-Zammit and Todd Gleave marked their returns to the starting line-up with tries, the latter coming after Paul Willemse was shown a yellow card for collapsing the maul.

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.

Scotland lock Jonny Gray will leave Glasgow Warriors to join Exeter Chiefs at the end of the season.

The 25-year-old forward has signed a two-year deal with the Premiership leaders and will arrive at Sandy Park ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

Gray, capped 55 times by Scotland, will follow former Glasgow team-mate and Scotland international Stuart Hogg in making the switch to the Chiefs.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge," said Gray, who joined the Warriors in 2012. "I see the move not only as a chance to experience something new, but at the same time it's a chance for me to develop myself, not only as a player, but as a person.

"Obviously, I've come up against the Chiefs in the past and I know just how tough a side they are and what the set-up is like down in Exeter.

"You can see how well they have done in recent years and at this stage in my career, I just feel it's a great opportunity for me.

"I know I still have a lot to learn as a player, so hopefully the change of club will allow me to add new things to my game."

England centre Henry Slade is expected to miss the start of the Six Nations after fracturing his right ankle.

Slade was forced off in the first half of Exeter Chiefs' victory over Leicester Tigers last weekend and sat out Sunday's 14-7 win against Saracens.

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter confirmed the centre is facing up to two months on the sidelines.

"Henry has a small fracture to his ankle around the site of the plate he had put in a couple of seasons ago when he fractured it at Wasps," said Baxter.

"The prognosis of anything like that is six to eight weeks of healing time. There's no information at this stage that says it will be quicker or slower than six to eight weeks.

"It's not for me to say for which game exactly he'll be back [for], because things can shorten up considerably towards the end of rehab time or they can relapse at the end, so it's impossible for me to say."

England begin their Six Nations campaign with a trip to Paris to face France on February 2.

Slade has made 27 Test appearances for England and came on as a replacement in the Rugby World Cup final loss to South Africa in November.

Exeter Chiefs regained their place at the top of the Premiership by beating Saracens 14-7 in a thrilling game at Sandy Park.

Rob Baxter's side replaced Northampton Saints at the summit on Sunday, though they had to survive a late scare after Dave Ewers gave away a penalty try and was sent to the sin bin with a minute remaining for going in at the side.

Against the side that beat them in the last two Premiership finals, Exeter moved ahead in the sixth minute. Max Malins spilled a loose pass from Owen Farrell, and Nic White, who opened the scoring when the Chiefs lost 37-34 to Sarries at Twickenham in June, hacked on to ground the ball in the corner.

Joe Simmonds added the extras, but the hosts came under pressure after Harry Williams was sent to the sin bin for pulling down a driving maul.

Farrell missed a second penalty as Williams returned and Simmonds did tremendously to hold up Jamie George and deny Saracens a try on the stroke of half-time.

Exeter got the reward their strong start to the second period deserved when Jacques Vermeulen touched down his first Premiership try, but their focus soon returned to defence.

Williams was shown a red card from the bench in the 77th minute after getting involved in a melee sparked by White coming together with Duncan Taylor, and Saracens upped the pressure.

Saracens were able to salvage a losing bonus point through a penalty try, meaning they are now 18 behind Leicester Tigers, but were unable to restore parity in the closing stages.

Saracens made it five Premiership victories on the bounce as they shrugged off conceding an early try to defeat Bristol Bears 47-13.

The defending champions – who still sit bottom thanks to their 35-point deduction for breaching salary cap rules – fell behind to Luke Morahan's ninth-minute try on Saturday.

But Saracens responded quickly through Mako Vunipola and swiftly wrested control thanks to Max Malins' try.

Malins helped himself to another after the restart, with Nick Tompkins also at the double as the home side went over five times in the second half.

However, Sarries are still 17 points behind Leicester Tigers, whose second-half capitulation at Welford Road enabled Exeter Chiefs to go top.

Exeter were 22-14 down at half-time, yet rallied after the interval to score 17 unanswered points and capitalise on Northampton Saints' 22-10 defeat at Sale Sharks.

Chris Ashton, Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Akker van der Merwe went over for Sale as the Sharks moved into the top four.

Meanwhile, Wasps suffered a third successive Premiership loss as they went down 28-22 at home to Harlequins, who held on for a bonus-point win despite having Joe Marler sin-binned late on.

Wasps took the lead at the Ricoh Arena, though Harlequins dominated for 40 minutes up to the hour mark, running in four tries without reply.

Thomas Young's effort eventually pulled the hosts back into contention, but the TMO denied them a late try and they were left with a losing bonus point as consolation.

Exeter Chiefs overpowered domestic rivals Sale Sharks while Clermont Auvergne crushed Bath in Sunday's European Champions Cup action.

The all-Premiership clash at Sandy Park saw Exeter lead just 7-3 at the break, but the Sharks were eventually thumped 35-10 after capsizing in a hailstorm-interrupted second half.

Sam Simmonds crossed in each half while brother Joe also grabbed a try for the Chiefs, who sit top of Pool 2 after a fourth successive win in this season's competition.

They appear certainties to seal a place in the last eight for just the second time in their history, as they have a firm grip on a pool that also includes Glasgow Warriors and La Rochelle.

Sam James scored the only try of the contest for Sale but the heavy loss on their travels leaves the struggling Sharks with just six points to their name.

Clermont, meanwhile, moved to within a point of Pool 3 leaders Ulster thanks to a 52-26 thrashing of Bath at Stade Marcel-Michelin.

Alivereti Raka and George Moala both touched down twice for the Top 14 side, who had the bonus point wrapped up by half-time as they scored eight tries in the rout.

Bath went over four times themselves to collect a losing bonus, though they remain rooted to the bottom of the table as their wait for a European victory this season goes on.

Page 1 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.