Exeter Rugby Video Ranking: 5 / five
Exeter produced a fine second half fightback to stun Sale Sharks at Edgeley Park on Friday night. Both sides have made promising starts to their seasons, looking set to battle it out for Heineken Cup places at the end of the season and it was the home side who started promisingly.
The Sharks led 23-7 at the break and had run rings around the Chiefs for much of the first half. The Chiefs were poor in defence and were denied on almost every visit to the Sharks 22, trailing 20-0 at one point in the first half.
Something happened to change the game at half time though and the Chiefs returned to the field to rack up 23 unanswered points. Their defence was flawless and the flair that had been lacking in the first half suddenly appeared in every Exeter attack.
The Chiefs secured a bonus point in the second half and timed the completion of their comeback to near perfection, the game perfectly balanced at 23-23 until a 79th minute try from Ignacio Mieres sealed the victory for the Chiefs in style. The tightness that had hindered the Exeter defence in the first half was very much present in the second half. Every tackle that needed to be made was made and the Sharks could not add to their first half talky of 23 points.
The Chiefs seem to be establishing themselves as a real force in the Premiership. The fight back from a 20 point deficit, against one of the leagues long standing teams, shows just how capable they are of staying in the Premiership for the long term. In just their second season as a Premiership side, to be considered challengers for a Heinieken Cup birth next year shows just how good a job the Chiefs have done in their transition from National League winners, to a Premiership outfit. Resilient victories such as this one will do them plenty of good in the next stage of their development too.