Opposition view: Hepher hails 'outstanding' Exeter after success against Saints

Head coach Ali Hepher praised his Exeter Chiefs side for learning the lessons from their chastening 35-3 defeat at Saracens as they cruised to a 35-12 win against Saints on Saturday.
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The Chiefs bounced back in style as skipper Luke Cowan-Dickie scored twice, with Sam Simmonds, Olly Woodburn and Henry Slade also on the scoresheet.

Saints replied through tries from Fraser Dingwall and Matt Proctor, but Phil Dowson's side never threatened to take anything from their tricky trip to Sandy Park.

And Hepher said: “I was pleased with the way we hit the pitch.

Ali HepherAli Hepher
Ali Hepher

“We had clearly learned lessons from last week and I thought our attitude and our movement, especially early in the game was outstanding.

"Tactically we moved ourselves around the pitch really well and we didn’t expose ourselves in what were tough conditions out there.”

Saints had beaten Exeter 26-19 at home earlier in the season, but they really struggled in the return encounter.

“With a side like Saints, you’ve got to box smart,” Hepher said.

“They are a dangerous side and they still had their moments.

"The way we worked, both in attack and defence, and the way we pressed them, we took that space away from them, which was really important.”

Exeter have now moved above Saints in the Gallagher Premiership standings, with the black, green and gold slipping down to sixth.

“With 15 minutes to go, the message going on was to give them nothing,” Hepher said.

“To take a bonus point ourselves was huge. It’s something we’ve not done enough of this season. We’ve scored three tries a few times, but then not converted that into the bonus.

“Yes, that was good, but we’re equally aware we still have plenty to work on.

"Our penalty count was high again and some of those penalties are daft ones.

"We’ve talked a lot about that this week and we need to address it.

"We need to be better in what we do, simply because you can’t give up easy yards for opposition like this.”

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