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Leicester 34-19 Exeter: George Ford comes back with a bang to punish a depleted Chiefs XV

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Leicester 34-19 Exeter: George Ford comes back with a bang to punish a depleted Chiefs XV as Tigers man ‘controlls’ match upon injury return

  • Exeter Chiefs travelled to Sandy Park to face Leicester Tigers on Saturday 
  • George Ford made his return from a calf injury which ended last season early
  • Ford took charge of the game and dominated Joe Simmonds to bag victory 


George Ford returned from a summer off from international duty to pull the strings in Leicester Tigers’ emphatic victory over last season’s runners-up Exeter Chiefs.

A niggling calf injury saw the 28-year-old sit out of his club’s final three rounds of the 2020-21 campaign and England head coach Eddie Jones opted against deploying the 77-times capped fly-half in the Tests against Canada and USA.

Rested and refreshed, it was a flashback to the Ford of old, cheered on by a raucous Welford Road crowd, as he outshone his opposite number Joe Simmonds in Leicester’s 34-19 bonus-point win.

George Ford dominated on his return to action for Leicester Tigers, helping sink Exeter Chiefs

George Ford dominated on his return to action for Leicester Tigers, helping sink Exeter Chiefs 

‘George Ford controlled that game for large parts of it,’ said Tigers boss Steve Borthwick. ‘It was great to see him back fit and performing as well as that.

‘You could see by the way he played, the sharpness he had in his game. He is only going to keep on getting better He controlled that game brilliantly.’

Ford’s first contribution was to confidently land a 45-metre penalty before beautifully freeing the hugely impressive Freddie Steward to burst through a gap for the game’s opening try.

Exeter were without their four British and Irish Lions stars Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jonny Hill, Sam Simmonds and Stuart Hogg but showed their ruthless streak from close range when Don Armand was driven over to cut Leicester’s lead to three.

Joe Simmonds couldn't match the Englishman as the Tigers beat last season's runners up

Joe Simmonds couldn’t match the Englishman as the Tigers beat last season’s runners up 

Nic Dolly hauled over the line to bag a try in the Gallagher Premiership contest on Saturday

Nic Dolly hauled over the line to bag a try in the Gallagher Premiership contest on Saturday 

Tigers added 12 more points before the break as Harry Potter profited from Nemani Nadolo’s bulldozing break and Ben Youngs’ looping pass before Scottish centre Matt Scott sniped over from close range.

Exeter seemed to find a fix to their largely blunt first-half display after the break, forcing Tigers to infringe repeatedly in their own 22 before Ian Tempest lost patience and awarded a penalty try.

However, with 55 minutes played and Leicester building a three-score lead, Exeter Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter believed the damage had already been done.

‘At one stage there was a massive penalty count,’ he said. ‘Eventually we got the yellow card but almost by then, they had done enough damage stopping us that we couldn’t pull them back.’

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