Premiership: Exeter Chiefs 9-21 Leicester Tigers

Premiership champions Leicester moved level on points with second-placed Northampton after grinding out a 21-9 victory at Exeter.

Ben Youngs and Niki Goneva both touched down for the visitors in a one-sided first half at Sandy Park.

Captain Toby Flood kicked a conversion and three penalties for the Tigers.

Exeter fought back from a 15-0 deficit at half-time but three Gareth Steenson penalties were all the home team had to show for their efforts.

Leicester climb above Bath into third position in the table and trail unbeaten leaders Saracens by four points, while Exeter's inconsistent start to the campaign continues.

Richard Cockerill's men, who had lost their only previous Premiership outing away from home this season at Bath two weeks earlier, dominated the first 40 minutes with an effective display against a Chiefs side that struggled to show any form until after the interval.

Tigers have the edge

Exeter and Leicester have played each other seven times in the Premiership since the Chiefs were promoted to the top flight in 2010.

Rob Baxter's side did the double over the Tigers in the 2011-12 season, but Leicester have won the other five meetings.

The Tigers had already wasted two scoring opportunities - full-back Niall Morris failing to ground Flood's chipped kick and then Flood missing a routine penalty - before the visitors finally registered their first points of the game on 11 minutes.

England and Lions hooker Tom Youngs twisted away from the back of a maul and fed younger brother Ben, who exploited a gap on the blind side to cross.

Flood was again wayward from the conversion but found his range to add a penalty soon afterwards.

The visitors were made to wait until a minute before the interval to add their second try, which came courtesy of Fiji international Goneva.

Switched from the wing to the centre due to the absence of injured Manu Tuilagi, Goneva intercepted a misplaced pass on half-way and cruised clear of the home defence for his third try of the season.

Given their 15-point league at half-time, many would have expected Leicester to close out an easy victory but Exeter were much improved after the break and forced two early penalties, both kicked by fly-half Steenson.

The second took him beyond 500 Premiership points, and the gap between the sides was closed to six when Leicester were penalised at the scrum and Steenson slotted over the resulting penalty from close range, although Flood responded almost immediately with a three-pointer of his own.

Despite the odd moment of alarm, Leicester held firm to clinch a third win in four Premiership matches, with captain Flood's fourth successful kick adding some gloss to the final scoreline.


Exeter Chiefs: Dollman; Whitten, Shoemark, Hill, James; Steenson, Thomas; Sturgess, Yeandle, Tui; Mumm, Welch; Johnson, Scaysbrook, Ewers.

Replacements: Whitehead, Moon, Rimmer, Hayes, White, Lewis, Slade, Jess.

Leicester Tigers: Morris; Scully, Goneva, Allen, Thompstone; Flood, B. Youngs; Mulipola, T. Youngs, Cole; Deacon, Parling; Slater, Salvi, Crane.

Replacements: Briggs, Stankovich, Balmain, Kitchener, Gibson, Harrison, Williams, Bowden.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (RFU)