Defending champions Exeter Chiefs started the defence of their title with an opening day victory over Harlequins. Chiefs came to London just 27 days after completing a domestic and European double, minus nine players due to injuries or away with their countries.
An even contest was quickly ended when Exeter ran in three tries in the last ten minutes, with a man of the match performance from hat trick man Sam Simmonds.
Harlequins had the first chance of the game to put some points on the board with a Marcus Smith penalty, but the fly-half’s kick sailed wide of the posts.
Ten minutes later Smith had another chance to get the opening points on the board and this time his kick was successful from the 22m line.
Matt Symons- who had only recently returned back to the side after injury problems- went down and had to hobble off the field and was replaced by game changer Glen Young.
Quickly taken line out resulted in the Chiefs with the first try of the game when Sam Simmonds sliced through the middle to score in the corner. The conversion was missed but Chiefs went into the interval with a narrow four-point lead.
Within six minutes of the restart they had increased that lead to nine points following a line out that saw Dave Ewers power through to crash over.
Exeter took the game away from Harlequins with ten minutes to go when Simmonds bag his hat trick. The first of those tries he touched down following a driving maul.
Chiefs picked up the try bonus point when Simmonds outstretched hand was enough to touch down for his hat trick.
On the stroke of full time Chiefs made it five tries on the night when Stuart Townsend burrowed over to send out an early message to the rest of the league that even without a host of big players, Chiefs will still be the side to beat again this season.
Harlequins 3 Exeter Chiefs 33
Gallagher Premiership Round One 20th November 2020
Peter Moore at The Stoop