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Sport Exeter beat Sale to set up final against Harlequins

01:10  20 june  2021
01:10  20 june  2021 Source:   planetrugby.com

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  Alex Sanderson sets sights on Premiership glory Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson has revealed that his goal is to guide the club to Premiership glory at Twickenham later this season.Sale will feature in the play-offs for the first time since 2006 – the only occasion they have claimed the English title – but Sanderson still wants more from his squad.

Exeter are into a sixth successive Twickenham final and it may take more than a few hot-stepping metropolitan types to deny them a third Premiership title in five years. The lead was into double figures after just 11 minutes when Rohan Janse van Rensburg was floored behind the advantage line by Jack Maunder and Henry Slade scooped up the loose ball and set free the pacy Tom O’Flaherty to score. It felt like the Exeter of old – hard-hitting, direct and resourceful – and already it felt as if Sale were going to require something extra special.

Luke Northmore scores for Harlequins against Worcester. The centre worked in a pasty shop before embarking on a professional career. Photograph: Marek Dorcik/ProSports/Shutterstock. Expect this season’s title, then, to be won by the side who stays best up the sun-soaked final hill. Normally that side would almost certainly be Exeter , whose success has long been founded on a military work ethic and superior fitness that was so instrumental in the closing stages of their big European knockout games last season.

Champions Exeter reached their sixth successive Premiership final and will play Harlequins at Twickenham after beating Sale 40-30 in an absorbing play-off.

a group of people playing football on a field: Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks – Gallagher Premiership – Semi-Final – Sandy Park © PA Images Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks – Gallagher Premiership – Semi-Final – Sandy Park

The Chiefs struck with early tries by hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie and wing Tom O’Flaherty after Sale’s England centre Manu Tuilagi was sin-binned for a swinging arm hit into Exeter flanker Richard Capstick’s jaw.

Capstick went off for a head injury assessment and did not return, but Chiefs maintained the upper hand and booked another final appearance through full-back Jack Nowell’s two touchdowns on his comeback after six weeks out injured and an Alex Cuthbert score, plus three conversions and three penalties from skipper Joe Simmonds.

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Semi- final : Bristol 36-43 Harlequins . Quins battle back from 28-0 down in remarkable game. Joe Marchant of Harlequins scores a try in the final moments of extra-time to secure victory over Bristol. Against a team like Bristol the dangers for them were obvious, and so it unfolded initially.

Against Exeter , however, you must take every chance that befalls you. The hosts often grafted for good field position and, while their willingness to chuck the ball about might have looked pretty, three measly points in the first 40 minutes – from the boot of Smith – was never going to be enough Once Exeter had their noses in front, it always looked too great a challenge for Harlequins . Flanker Dave Ewers extended Exeter ’s lead after a motoring maul, and the game looked dead and buried. When Harlequins centre Luke Northmore had a try ruled out due to No 8 Alex Dombrandt’s cumbersome

Sale, striving to reach a first Twickenham showpiece since 2006, had their moments at Sandy Park, notably centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg’s try double, while fly-half Robert du Preez kicked 13 points, before number eight Dan du Preez scored a late try that Kieran Wilkinson converted.

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But Exeter march on, chasing a third Premiership title in five seasons, and they will start as favourites next Saturday despite Quins’ stunning extra-time victory over Bristol.

Suspended Exeter forwards Sam Skinner and Dave Ewers were replaced by Jonny Gray and Capstick, respectively, while Nowell was preferred to Scotland captain Stuart Hogg for his first game since early May.

Injuries sidelined Sale trio AJ MacGinty, Akker van der Merwe and Cameron Neild, so Du Preez took over from MacGinty, with hooker Curtis Langdon in for Van der Merwe and Ben Curry joining his twin brother Tom in the back- row.

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Sale are looking to make immediate amends for their narrow 20-19 defeat to Exeter last weekend as the two teams meet once again in this afternoon's Premiership semi- final . Follow our guide as we explain how to get a Exeter Chiefs vs Sale Sharks live stream and watch this massive match online from wherever you are today. Simply follow our VPN advice below and you'll soon be up and running with a great bit of software that allows you to relocate your device back to your country of residence - thereby regaining access to all the streaming services and content you normally enjoy at home.

The last time Harlequins reached the Premiership final , a 13-year-old Marcus Smith bagged tickets through Brighton RFC and travelled up to Twickenham. “I was there,” says the fly-half with a grin. Nick Evans and Jordan Turner-Hall, fly-half and inside centre that day, are part of an intuitive coaching set - up . The fingerprints of the former have been all over a league campaign in which Harlequins have averaged more than four tries per game. Mike Brown is banned but two more players surviving from the 2012 final squad, Joe Marler and Danny Care, will be eager to maintain their fine form at Ashton Gate.

Exeter flew out of the blocks and were ahead after five minutes, striking immediately after Tuilagi was yellow-carded.

The Chiefs forwards laid siege to Sale’s line, and Cowan-Dickie claimed the touchdown, with Simmonds’ conversion making it 7-0.

Don Armand replaced Capstick, and Sale, having pushed Exeter to the limit in last weekend’s regular-season encounter, soon fell further behind.

This time, a crunching Ollie Devoto tackle saw Sale spill possession inside their own half, and his midfield partner Henry Slade gathered before sending an unmarked O’Flaherty over.

Simmonds could not convert from the touchline, and although Du Preez then opened Sale’s account through a long-range penalty, Exeter maintained territorial dominance.

Simmonds booted a penalty that opened up a 12-point advantage, but Sale responded from the restart as wing Arron Reed beat Slade to the catch and found Van Rensburg, who finished strongly under pressure.

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Exeter Chiefs tend to reserve their best for Premiership semi- finals at Sandy Park – played five, won five – but this time they will be confronted by a unique double Shark attack. Never before have the identical Curry twins, Tom and Ben, started such a high-profile domestic game in tandem; having Sale Sharks head coach Alex Sanderson speaks to his players prior to their match against Bath in May. Photograph: Patrick Khachfe/JMP/REX/Shutterstock. Also humming away in the background is Sale ’s collective desire to become the super northern force they were back in the days of Jason

Exeter faced one passage of play, well after time and down to 13 men, but the final deed – a penalty try at the umpteenth chaotic scrum – settled the game in the home team’s favour five minutes after the clock had turned red. “It was one of our more important wins,” said Harlequins director of rugby Paul Gustard. Very direct, very Exeter . A penalty apiece, albeit with Exeter ’s scrum starting to win favour for no obvious reason, maintained parity at the break. Neither Exeter ’s ascendancy at the scrum nor the parity was to last long. Quins repeated the scrum-Care-Lasike routine to set up Tevita Cavubati from

Van Rensburg, a late inclusion in the Sale side instead of Sam James, took his try superbly, and Du Preez’s conversion gave Exeter food for thought.

The Chiefs, though, responded by scoring a third try, and it was Nowell who claimed it, taking a quick penalty that caught Sale’s defence napping and touching down before Sharks tacklers could respond.

Simmonds added extras, and although Du Preez landed a second penalty, Exeter were good value for a 22-13 interval lead.

A Simmonds penalty increased the gap, yet Sale fortuitously hit back when Van Rensburg capitalised on Du Preez’s clever kick to score, but the officials missed what appeared to be a forward pass by Tuilagi earlier in the move.

Du Preez converted, yet Exeter soon regained the ascendancy, with Simmonds’ kick bisecting the Sale defence and Nowell claiming his second try.

Another Du Preez penalty made it a nine-point game entering the final quarter, but Wales international Cuthbert finished off a spell of relentless pressure 13 minutes from time.

Sale would still not go quietly, though, and Dan du Preez’s 71st-minute touchdown set up an intense closing period that saw Exeter ultimately prevail as Simmonds sent over a 40-metre penalty and booked a Twickenham ticket once again.

Rugby-Exeter's throne under threat from free-scoring Quins .
Rugby-Exeter's throne under threat from free-scoring QuinsLONDON (Reuters) - Exeter spent years as the battling underdogs operating in Saracens' shadow but now find themselves as the big beast hoping to suppress the upstarts of Harlequins in English rugby's Premiership final at Twickenham on Saturday.

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