Exeter 19-13 Wasps: Class of Henry Slade delivers double delight for Exeter Chiefs

England star Henry Slade banished the ghost of Exeter’s Twickenham past to bring double delight to Devon.

A week after his try helped Chiefs become European champions, Slade scored another beauty as Exeter became just the fourth English club to win the Premiership and Champions Cup in the same season.

The pain of three defeats in the last four Premiership finals was washed away in a monsoon as Rob Baxter’s side overcame a mighty late scare to seal the deal.

“This feels so good after our previous years of heartache in finals,” said an emotional Slade. “For the last few weeks to go as well as they have is just unreal.”

Going: Slade en route to try line and his 18th minute score

Gone: Slade crashes over line despite attentions of Jacob Umaga

The classy centre had dreamt of this moment since last year’s final when Exeter coughed up an 11-point lead to Saracens after his try had put them firmly in the box seat.

That was an altogether different occasion, a 10-try spectacle played in glorious June sunshine in front of a bumper crowd.

Here it rained throughout, with player voices echoing around the empty arena as the contest raged predominantly between the two 22s.

Slade with his man of the match award

Wasps will rue their late decision to go for the corner instead of the posts and blow the chance of extra-time.

Had Gabriel Oghre’s throw not been intercepted on the Exeter line they might even have won their first title since 2008.

How sweet that would have been given they lost four players to coronavirus and had the best part of a week of sleepless nights wondering whether they would even be allowed to play.

Alec Hepburn is congratulated after winning a scrum penalty for Exeter

It was typical of a club with such a rich tradition of defying the odds that they used the adversity to fuel their title tilt.

It produced a stunning first half try for young fly-half Jacob Umaga, pouncing on a mistake by Jonny Hill in jumping out of the defensive line to dance into the hole and away for the try.

That put Wasps ahead but it was a short-lived affair as Joe Simmonds levelled the scores five minutes later.

Chiefs win a lineout before the heavens really opened on Twickenham

The Chiefs captain was not finished and as the weather deteriorated further he coolly slotted two late kicks to settle the issue.

Few will begrudge Exeter their success given that two of the three finals they lost went to a Saracens team later found to have cheated the salary cap.

“We’ve learned from losing finals,” said Simmonds, who extended his unbroken goalkicking streak to 33.

Jack Nowell played through pain of ruptured foot ligaments

Jack Willis is mobbed by team mates after a big turnover on his own try line

“The boys worked so hard for these opportunities and over the past eight days we have taken them.”

Having been unable to celebrate their European triumph due to this game, Exeter headed back west in high spirits.

The only downer came with confirmation that Jack Nowell requires an operation to repair ruptured ligaments in his foot and will miss England’s Six Nations finale in Italy next Saturday.

Dan Robson clears his lines under pressure from Luke Cowan-Dickie

Wasps captain Joe Launchbury is consoled by team mate Josh Bassett

Baxter admitted: ”It’s a relatively long-termish injury, not like a knee reconstruction, but it’s relatively long term.

“You’ve got to give him great credit for deciding that he wanted to really drive these last few weeks of his club season.”

EXETER: S Hogg 6; J Nowell 7, H Slade 9, O Devoto 7, O Woodburn 6; J Simmonds (capt) 8, J Maunder 7 (S Hidalgo-Clyne 60, 6); A Hepburn (B Moon 60) 7, L Cowan-Dickie (J Yeandle 60, 6) 7, H Williams (T Francis 60, 6) 7, S Skinner 7, J Hill (J Gray 55, 6) 6, D Ewers 6, J Kirsten 7, S Simmonds 6.

Try: Slade. Con: J Simmonds. Pens: J Simmonds 4.

WASPS: M Minozzi (L Sopoaga 58, 7) 7; Z Kibirige 6, J de Jongh (Le Bourgeois 73, 6) 6, J Gopperth 7, J Bassett 6; J Umaga 8, D Robson 7; T West (B Harris 54, 7) 7, T Taylor (G Oghre 51, 6) 7, J Toomaga-Allen 7, J Launchbury (capt) 8, W Rowlands 7, J Willis 8, T Young 7, T Willis (J Gaskell 46, 6) 6.

WASPS – Try: Umaga. Con: Gopperth. Pen: Gopperth 2.

Man of the Match: Henry Slade.

source.



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