Exeter celebrate their victory over Leicester this afternoon. Simon Galloway
Flying High

Four-try Exeter hammer Leicester to end year with 10-point Premiership lead

The Chiefs’ title defence is building further momentum.

EXETER CHIEFS MOVED 10 points clear at the top of the Premiership table with a 30-6 bonus-point win over out-of-sorts Leicester Tigers at Sandy Park on New Year’s Eve.

Defending champions Exeter will head into 2018 on the back of seven top-flight wins in a row after raising their game in the second half.

The Tigers, on the other hand, have now lost six consecutive matches in all competitions for the first time since way back in 1965 and are languishing in ninth place.

Exeter lost Luke Cowan-Dickie to a hip injury early on and had to settle for a 6-3 lead at the end of a frantic first half courtesy of penalties from Henry Slade and Gareth Steenson either side of one from George Ford.

England out-half Ford levelled from the tee early in the second half, but man-of-the-match Don Armand powered his way over for the opening try to put Exeter back in front after Leicester came under immense pressure.

Jonny May, cleared to play after being sent off against Saracens on Christmas Eve, then gifted Slade a try by misjudging a high kick and palming the ball back towards a flat-footed Ford, only for another England team-mate to nip in and scamper under the posts.

Jonny Hill added a third try 10 minutes from time as the Tigers’ vulnerability was exposed again and Jack Yeandle put the icing on the cake, dotting down when Leicester were unable to stop a driving maul right at the end.

Slade’s conversion attempt struck the post in the wind, but Exeter fittingly signed off an outstanding year with another rousing display.

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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