Exeter ensured there was no fairytale end to a turbulent week for beleaguered Worcester as the Chiefs cruised to a 36-21 victory at Sixways.
The crisis-hit Warriors, with debts soaring to £25m, have just met Friday’s deadline to allow the Gallagher Premiership game to go ahead, with their support staff having to work miracles to comply with strict regulations to do so.
Many of these people, along with the players, have yet to receive their full salaries and their efforts were recognized as dozens formed a guard of honor as the team took to the field in front of a regulated crowd of 5,000. people.
Worcester played with tremendous spirit, but Exeter always had the advantage and ended up beating their hosts five tries to three.
Two came from impressive Exeter number eight Richard Capstick, with the other Chiefs scores coming from Olly Woodburn, Jack Maunder and Joe Simmonds, who added four conversions and a penalty.
Alex Hearle, Gareth Simpson and Ollie Lawrence scored Worcester tries, two of which were converted by Owen Williams with Billy Searle adding the extras for the other.
It took Worcester less than three minutes to fall behind when Exeter’s precise inter-passing passes created a huge gap in the hosts’ defense for Simmonds to walk around.
Worcester’s woes quickly worsened when Murray McCallum was condemned for a dangerous challenge on Simmonds and, absent the prop, Exeter extended their lead when Capstick salvaged a long pass from Jack Nowell to score.
McCallum returned in time to see fellow top tier Valery Morozov leave injured, with British Lion Rory Sutherland replacing him.
The Warriors needed a boost and they got one. A solid run from Lawrence put the visitors’ defense on the back foot to create space for Hearle, who passed his opponent before running 25 yards for an excellent try.
It was Exeter’s turn to lose a player to injury when prop Marcus Street limped off, but they overcame that setback to create a second try for Capstick.
Rory O’Loughlin started the move by smartly getting inside Perry Humphreys to send Olly Woodburn running. The wing linked to its support before Capstick becomes available to load again.
Simmonds converted before adding a penalty to leave his side with a 22-7 advantage at halftime.
Five minutes into the restart, the Warriors stunned the Chiefs with a superb second down as they got back into the game. From deep in his own half, Joe Batley stormed down the field on a 40-yard run before providing Simpson with the game-winning pass.
Exeter were rocked but they regained their composure when the well-timed passage of Harvey Skinner and Simmonds gave Woodburn a walk-in.
The Warriors still didn’t lay down with Lawrence hitting a tackle to reward a pre-planned out move, but Exeter had the last laugh with their fifth try scored by substitute Maunder.