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|Gloucester (14) 28|
|Tries: Thrush 2, Morgan, Woodward Cons: Burns 3, Twelvetrees|
|Exeter Chiefs (14) 21|
|Tries: Simmonds 2, Woodburn Cons: Steenson 2, Slade|
Jason Woodward scored a last-minute try as Premiership champions Exeter were beaten at Gloucester in dramatic style.
The teams traded first-half scores as Sam Simmonds twice put Exeter ahead only for Jeremy Thrush to go over on two occasions to level things up.
Exeter fly-half Gareth Steenson was sin-binned for a high tackle and Ben Morgan then edged the hosts ahead.
Willi Heinz’s error let Exeter’s Olly Woodburn in to level, but Woodward found the corner for the late win.
Defeat for Rob Baxter’s side mean they fail to surpass Leicester’s record of 17 league games unbeaten, set in the 1999-2000 campaign.
Gloucester were without mainstays Ross Moriarty and Charlie Sharples through injury, but took advantage of an uncharacteristically sloppy display from the visitors.
There was some controversy as the Cherry and Whites second try was given by the television match official despite what looked like a double movement from Thrush, while Morgan’s score had to be looked at twice because of a possible knock-on.
Exeter survived their 10-minute spell with 14 men, and once level had a chance for victory but in Steenson’s absence, England centre Henry Slade put a difficult penalty wide of the posts.
It means last season’s title-winners have won only one of their past five Premiership season-openers.
Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann:
“We couldn’t have asked for a better start. I am grateful for that.
“I am so pleased with the character the guys showed and the effort that went into the game.
“Some individuals had great performances and our set-phase was also good, but it is week one and teams will challenge you every week. You cannot take anything for granted.”
Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon:
“We were starting to exert quite a lot of pressure on them and it looked like we were starting to get what we wanted out of the game, but fair play to them, they went to the end.
“To be fair to Gloucester when they got close to our line they were more efficient than we were. Have they had a little bit of luck and bounce of the ball, potentially.”
On the decision to award Gloucester’s second and third tries:
“There’s potentially reasons to award both and to not award either. Just for my own clarification I’d like someone to discuss the reasoning behind both tries with me.”
Gloucester: Woodward; Thorley, Symons, Atkinson, Purdy; Burns, Heinz (capt); Afoa, Hibbard, Balmain; Savage, Thrush; Ludlow, Rowan, Morgan.
Replacements: Matu’u, Hohneck, Denman, Slater, Ackermann, Vellacott, Twelvetrees, Scott.
Exeter: Dollman; Woodburn, Slade, Whitten, Bodilly; Steenson, White; Moon, Yeandle (capt), Williams, Atkins, Hill, Kvesic, Armand, Simmonds.
Replacements: Taione, Rimmer, Francis, Skinner, Salvi, Maunder, Nowell, Turner.
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