sport

Exeter end winless run

Exeter Chiefs saw their run of five straight defeats in the Aviva Premiership come to an end with an 18-0 win over London Irish.

The home side led 6-0 at the break through two Henry Slade penalties, while James O'Connor saw his one attempt at the post rebound back but the visitors were reduced to 14 men midway through the half with prop Leo Halavatau shown yellow.

The Chiefs added two further tries in the second half with Phil Dollman's touchdown - converted by Slade - and Ian Whitten effort, although their resolve tested when they had Ben White yellow-carded for a tip tackle on the hour mark.

The Chiefs gave a first Premiership start to hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie, who has converted from being a loosehead prop on the advice of the England management, after Jack Yendle was concussed last weekend, while Slade was handed the fly-half duties.

The visitors were forced to make one late change when Ireland international Jamie Hagan failed a late fitness test on a rib injury sustained in last weekend's 20-15 defeat by Leicester Tigers. Tonga-born Halavatau came in at tighthead with Jonny Harris added to the bench.

Irish failed to capitalise on an early opportunity to scored when they kicked a penalty to the corner and the Chiefs stole the line-out. But the visitors continued to pin the Devon side in their own half - but their defence was solid.

The Chiefs broke out of their own half through flanker Tom Johnson and centre Whitten, leading to the Exiles being penalised for offside.

Playing advantage, Luke Arscott chipped through but Dollman was beaten to the touchdown by Marland Yarde.

Referee Matt Carley pulled play to the original infringement on the Irish 22 from where Slade put his side in to the lead off the tee. The England Saxons fly-half added a second midway through the half after Halavatau was shown yellow for a cynical foul.

Irish could have reduced the arrears but the 22m penalty attempt - 15m in from the left - by the Australian international centre O'Connor, bounced back in to play off the near upright.

Chiefs' wing Matt Jess saw his clearance attempt charged down by fly-half Shane Geraghty.

He hacked on but it went too far and Exeter were able to clear their line from the resulting scrum, leaving Exeter 6-0 up at the break.

Dollman attempted a cheeky drop goal before Exeter stretched their lead three minutes after the restart as Slade fed Luke Arscott, who opted to put Dollman through for the touchdown.

Slade's conversion bounced over the bar off the far upright.

Midway through the half referee Carley called in TMO Geoff Warren to adjudicate on a tip tackle on scrum-half Darren Allinson which resulted in openside flanker White spending 10 minutes in the sin-bin.

But with less than 15 minutes remaining, Exeter added a second try when Whitten chipped ahead, won the race for the bounce and shrugged off a tackle from right wing Alex Lewington to go over after confirmation from the TMO.

Exeter continued to press for a third try which resulted in Allinson becoming the third player to be shown yellow with three minutes of the game remaining, but the Chiefs were penalised at the 10-metre scrum for an early push.