A heavily rotated Exeter Chiefs side fell to a 38-18 defeat away at Gloucester Rugby on Friday evening in a game which displayed the next generation of players coming through the ranks at the defending champions.
Two tries from hooker Henry Walker and Charlie Chapman as well as a last-minute penalty try gave the Cherry and Whites a bonus point victory after two early Chiefs’ tries from Josh Hodge and Don Armand had given the visitors a 14-15 half time lead.
Exeter Chiefs rugby writer John Evely takes a closer look at the individual performances at Kingsholm:
15 Josh Hodge – 9
The wealth or riches Exeter Chiefs have in the three quarters is quite frankly obscene.
All the talk before the game was the return of Gloucester’s heavily tipped British and Irish Lions wingers Louis Rees-Zammit and Jonny May following the conclusion of the Six Nations but it was the Chiefs man who produced they world class moment of the game which will live long in the memory.
After just seven minutes he took a high kick 30 metres from his own try line and raced diagonally before spotting a half gap on the outside of Billy Twelvetrees and inside Rees-Zammit to jet through and then stepped Argentine international Santiago Carreras like he was a statue to score his first Premiership try.
Hodge finished with 110m and also made two try saving tackles on Jonny May in the first half.
14 Olly Woodburn – 7
The winger was busy throughout and came and made plenty of hard yards, bouncing out of tackles and working as a link man across the backline to finish with 42m in attack.
Worked desperately and tirelessly to get back and grab an offload from Lewis Ludlow with the line begging for Val Rapava-Ruskin with an interception worth seven points.
13 Dan John – 6
Having made his debut off the bench last weekend, young Welshman John, still just 19, started his first game for the club at Kingsholm at outside centre despite being listed as a winger/full back by the club.
He made some eye-catching bursts in attack and did well to potentially save a try in the second half as he got back to block the passing lane Louis Rees-Zammit was looking to offload into, but got exposed in defence on a couple of occasions with 13 known to be the most technically testing position in the backline without the ball.
12 Corey Baldwin – 6
Solid is the way to describe 22-year-old Baldwin’s display. As so often is the case of an inside centre, the Welshman, who arrived from the Scarlets in the summer, made the hard yards and showed he has the physical attributes to be able to contribute more.
11 Facundo Cordero – 7
The Argentine needs so little room to operate in with his explosive step which saw him break the line on a couple of occasions, keeping play alive with a nice offload to Josh Hodge.
At still just 22-years-old his future looks incredibly bright.
10 Harvey Skinner – 8
Skinner had a sensational day in defence as he made three try saving tackles to keep his side in the contest, the best of which was on Lewis Ludlow after the Gloucester captain put his head down for the corner following an interception.
Skinner showed some wonderfully timed passing skills to put his centres through gaps in the first half and kicked reasonably well both for touch and the sticks.
He looks a reliable back-up option to Joe Simmonds.
9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne – 7
The Scottish international had a really decent performance as he was a constant threat on the snipe which kept Gloucester’s defence engaged. He ran great support lines to extend breaks and kicked well tactically.
1 James Kenny – 6
Making his first start in the Premiership the Chiefs scrum started off well before slowly getting overpowered by the Cherry and Whites.
Was in the thick of the action providing some extra muscle to fire Armand over the line for a try.
2 Jack Yeandle – 6
The captain returned from his suspension following a red card against Sale Sharks and looked slightly rusty. He did some excellent work in defence in the maul to win turnover ball but was also penalised at the ruck for going off his feet.
Not guaranteed his place in Chiefs’ first choice matchday 23 at the moment.
3 Marcus Street – 6
Held his own in the scrum and was missed when replaced by Alfie Petch after 53 minutes which allowed Gloucester to gain the upper hand in the setpiece.
4 Sean Lonsdale – 6
The lock was driven over his own try line in the first half as Chiefs were out muscled by the hosts back trying to create a better ankle to get away a clearing kick.
He made 13 tackles without missing though with a great chop tackle on Ruan Ackermann saving what looked likely to be a try.
5 Tom Price – 7
In his first start in the Premiership for Chiefs, Price, who is not one of they youngsters in the side at 28, made a real impression as he managed to target young Gloucester fly-half George Barton early on with a couple of big mismatch tackles and he also caused chaos with a charge down.
It was a highly promising display against two of the league’s top operations in Ed Slater and Matias Alemanno.
6 Don Armand – 7
The Exeter fan favourite caused havoc at the Gloucester line out with a couple of key line out steals and crossed for a try from close range as well as he finished with three turnovers in total.
Still a top operator and a better option on the flank rather than at lock as he has often been used in the last year.
7 Richard Capstick – 7
Exeter’s top tackler with 14 and one of the few men not to miss a tackle. He has had a storming captain in 2020/21 and will likely have a spot on the bench for the big European Champions Cup ties to come.
8 Rus Tuima – 7
In his first start in the Gallagher Premiership the big number eight, who is the nephew of former Gloucester backrower Akapusi Qera and cousin of England winger Joe Cokanasiga, looks to have got the family genes for power.
His drive was vital in the build-up to Armand’s try as he drew in three defenders to open up space and get his side thoroughly on the frontfoot.
At just 20-years-old he looks to have a very exciting future ahead of him.
Exeter Chiefs news straight to your phone!
Are you mad about Exeter Chiefs?
If so, you could receive the latest club news straight to your phone by signing up to our FREE WhatsApp service.
Exeter Chiefs writer John Evely will send you links to the breaking stories, direct to your mobile, via the easy-to-use app.
Among the things you can expect are transfer news, interviews, match reports, injury updates, team news and live blogs. You could even use it to ask him a question.
If you would like to sign up, save the number 07715 770289 to your phone (you must do this to receive our messages), then send EXETER CHIEFS in a message to that number via WhatsApp. We recommend saving the contact to your mobile as ‘Exeter Chiefs News’.
To unsubscribe at any time, just send STOP EXETER CHIEFS via WhatsApp to the same number and you will be removed from the service. Your number will not be used for any purpose other than to update you on all things Exeter Chiefs.
16 Elvis Taione – 6,
17 Danny Southworth – 5,
18 Alfie Petch – 5, 19
Will Witty – 5,
20 Charlie Wright – 6
21 Stu Townsend – 6,
22 Arthur Relton N/A,
23 James Short – 6