Exeter Chiefs 14 Wasps Ladies 24 At times it seemed as if 2,000 Devonshire locals in this tier two area had smuggled themselves into Sandy Park, such were the beastly roars from the Chiefs’ bench where nearly every member of the men’s coaching team – among them the men’s director of rugby, Rob Baxter – were out in force. As a newcomer to the Premier 15s this season, Exeter’s track record in the women’s top flight has been impressive for a side that was practically sourced over Zoom after the pandemic struck. Their inexperience was laid bare in this contest by their consistently poor lineout – and in failing to capitalise when Wasps’ Row Burnfield was sent to the bin after the break – as Ellie Kildunne’s 60th-minute try assured the visitors of victory. “The guys are all over it, because they’re seeing bits of what they do,” said Susie Appleby, the Exeter head coach, of her male colleagues’ support. “They’ve all been helping us this week in training. That’s the kind of game I’d love to have been live streamed on TV.” From the lofty heights of England Women being watched by a combined audience of 1.91 million on BBC2 across their two friendlies against France this month, fans had to contend with a handful of live streams to catch any women’s domestic action this weekend. This was another game which was deserving of air-time. Despite gifting Wasps an early try through Claudia MacDonald, who is fast earning the credentials as the most versatile hybrid of a winger and scrum-half in the women’s game, the Chiefs hardly looked like a team playing just their sixth Premier 15s game. Play in the second-half was end-to-end, with Meg Jones’ penalty proving the only difference along with Kildunne’s influential play. The Chiefs sniffed victory when USA international Jennine Duncan raced through, only for her pass to be intercepted by the Wasps full-back. Having been England’s hero against France last week after scoring at the death, Kildunne turned on the magic once again when it mattered, chipping over the Chiefs’ defence on the hour mark which forced Exeter’s Merryn Doidge and Gabby Cantorna to scamper back. Both lost their footing, leaving the sevens-cum-fifteens player to kick through before gathering to finish under the posts in what was a decisive end to a match which either side could have stolen up until that point. “That was an awesome competition and as this Premiership travels, the more the games are going to be like that,” said Giselle Mather, the Wasps head coach. “We might be having crowds back next week and they’ve got to come and watch it.” Match details Scoring sequence: 0-5, Macdonald try, 0-7 Jones con, 5-7 Garcia try, 7-7 Cantorna con, 12-7 try Hunt, 14-7 Cantrona con, 14-12 Muir try, 14-14 Jones con, 14-17 Jones pen, 14-22 Kildunne try, 14-24 Jones con. Exeter: M Doidge, L Holland (Duncan 41), L Cattell (Robinson 55) G Cantorna, G Mackinder, T Black, P Garcia (Lewis 55); M Roberts (Kato 42), E Tuttosi, L Delgado (Armstrong 60), P Leitch, M Hunt (Fleming 60), E Jefferies, K Zachary, L Van der Velden. Replacements: D French, S Kato, K Armstrong, A Powell, A Fleming, F Lewis, F Robinson, J Duncan. Wasps: E Kildunne, C Quansah (Wilson-Hardy 40), C Williams, K Alder, A Dow, M Jones, C Macdonald; H West, H Kerr, M Muir (Mitchelton 42), Rowena Burfield, E Clarke, S Kabeya, C Molloy, H Millar-Mills. Booked: Burnfield. Replacements: A Stock, H Ironton, S Monaghan, S Mitchelson, C Balogun, L Nye, F Williams, A Wilson-Hardy.