EXETER CHIEFS 11 Saracens 14

Exeter Chiefs crestSaracens strengthened their position at the Premiership summit by edging past Chiefs at windswept Sandy Park. 

A 75th minute Charlie Hodgson penalty, one of three second half kicks for the Premiership's all-time leading scorer, proved to be the difference between the top two sides.

Chiefs got off to a flying start as Irish fly half Gareth Steenson slotted over a simple third minute penalty before wing James Short intercepted a Hodgson pass and sprinted 95 metres to score his ninth try of the season.

Steenson made amends for failing to convert Short's score by slotting home another straightforward penalty. 

Saracens reduced the deficit on the stroke of half time by driving over Fijian number 8 Samu Vunisa after a prolonged period of pressure, although the blustery conditions ensured Hodgson's conversion was off target. Half time 11-5.

A scrappy, scrum orientated second half produced little action of note until the 68th minute, when Hodgson levelled after with his second successful penalty.

Hodgson added a third from 30 metres to ensure Sarries opened up a five-point lead over Chiefs at the summit.

Chiefs Dollman; Woodburn, Whitten, Hill, Short; Steenson, Chudley; Moon (Hepburn 54), Yeandle (c) (Cowan-Dickie 54), Low (Williams 67); Atkins (Stevenson 62), Parling; Armand, Salvi (Horstmann 73), Waldrom 

Replacements (not used) Lewis, Hooley, Bodilly

Saracens Ransom; Ellery (Earle 74), Tompkins, Barritt (c), Wyles; Hodgson, Wigglesworth; Barrington, Brits, du Plessis (Lamositele 74); Smith (Itoje 44), Hamilton; Wray, Brown, Vunisa (Burger 49) 

Replacements (not used) Saunders, Gill, Spencer, Mordt 

Attendance 12,450

Referee T Foley

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