Gallagher Premiership semi-final: Exeter Chiefs vs Northampton Saints - live score updates

Charlie Morgan
Tom O'Flaherty's brilliant solo try proved decisive for Exeter - Getty Images Europe

  • Latest score: Exeter Chiefs 35 Northampton Saints 12


Full-time | Exeter Chiefs 42 Northampton Saints 12

That's it. We have another final between Exeter and Saracens. And it'll be tasty.


Try, Sam Hill! Exeter Chiefs 42 Northampton Saints 12, 80 minutes

That sums it up. Sam Hill steps forward at first-receiver and smashes into contact. Alex Cuthbert and Ollie Devoto latch on and Exeter surge over the line. Joe Simmonds converts. 


Exeter 35 Northampton Saints 12, 79 minutes

Don Armand is over...but he's held up. Rob Baxter walks down to the touchline. It's over now.

Credit: BT Sport

 Matt Kvesic is named official man of the match.


Exeter 35 Northampton Saints 12

Scrum penalty to Chiefs. Guess what? They're going to the corner.


Exeter 35 Northampton Saints 12, 75 minutes 

Saints are attempting to run out of their own 22 but there's a forward pass there. Scrum to Exeter.


Exeter 35 Northampton Saints 12, 73 minutes

Simmonds dinks into space behind the Saints line and Exeter's chase wins a turnover when Kvesic swoops. Gareth Steenson comes on for Tom O'Flaherty. That'll mean Joe Simmonds shifting to full-back.

Exeter go to the corner and Sam Simmonds explodes off the back of the maul. Chiefs build pressure...but Sam Simmonds knocks on at the base of a ruck.


Try, Sam Simmonds! Exeter 35 Northampton Saints 12, 69 minutes

That's it, surely. Replays show the ball on the try-line. Nobody is sure how it got there, but it's a try. Sam Simmonds, who has missed so much of this season due to a knee injury, is the scorer. His brother duly converts.


Exeter Chiefs 28 Northampton Saints 12, 68 minutes        

Saints concede a scrum free-kick and Exeter opt for a five-metre put-in. More graft from Saints' defence. They hold up Sam Simmonds...or do they? We're going to the TMO.

Credit: BT Sport


Exeter Chiefs 28 Northampton Saints 12, 66 minutes       

Stubborn defence from Saints. Jamie Gibson muscles the maul turnover.


Exeter Chiefs 28 Northampton Saints 12, 63 minutes      

Another penalty as Saints drag down the maul. Exeter keep them in the corner...


Exeter Chiefs 28 Northampton Saints 12, 63 minutes     

This is powerful stuff from Exeter. Nowell is roaming all over the field and now he steps through a couple of tackles before lifting an offload to Jonny Hill. 

Harrison tackles Hepburn high and there is another Exeter penalty. They'll hit the corner.


Exeter Chiefs 28 Northampton Saints 12, 61 minutes    

Mistake from Dan Biggar, whose up and under drifts into touch on the full. Luther Burrell arrives for Saints. This will likely be his final game for Saints.

Credit: BT Sport

Sam Simmonds replaces Ewers too.


Exeter Chiefs 28 Northampton Saints 12, 58 minutes   

Luke Cowan-Dickie is on for Exeter and his throw finds Kvesic but Lawes forces another maul turnover. 


Exeter Chiefs 28 Northampton Saints 12, 58 minutes  

Northampton press on the edge of the Exeter 22 but there's a spill and Dave Ewers marches up-field. Slade glides further forward and then there is a tackle off the ball that gives Chiefs a penalty. They go to the corner.


Exeter Chiefs 28 Northampton Saints 12, 55 minutes 

Northampton are not giving this up. Collins streaks down the right flank and kicks ahead but a scampering Jack Nowell saves Chiefs.


Match action

This is a try worthy of winning a play-off game.


Exeter Chiefs 28 Northampton Saints 12, 51 minutes

Now Alex Cuthbert bursts through the middle! Players are really tiring all over the field and the Wales international carves up-field. Exeter recycle with White and Kvesic in support but there is a knock-on.

Meanwhile, Jamie Gibson and David Ribbans arrive from the Saints bench.


Exeter's depth...


Try, Tom O'Flaherty! Exeter Chiefs 28 Northampton Saints 12, 48 minutes

Just like that. Exeter recover Nic White's box-kick and Devoto and Slade eat up metres going wide to the right. When they come back to the left, Ben Moon throws a pass back to his left wing from the gain-line. O'Flaherty accelerates into a hole and then pulls away from Biggar to score. Brilliant solo try.


Try, Dave Dennis! Exeter Chiefs 21 Northampton Saints 12, 45 minutes

It's a barrage, and eventually the dam bursts. After numerous pick and go shunts, Dennis spears over the line. Simmmonds converts and the gap is nine points.


Exeter Chiefs 14 Northampton Saints 12, 42 minutes

Lovely stuff from Saints as they shift wide to Naiyaravoro and Reinach links up to sprint into the Exeter 22. Exeter recover, though, and force a turnover. They clear down-field and then win a lineout just outside the Saints 22...then Exeter creep offside.

Big decision...they go to the corner.


Second half

Here we go again. Reinach gathers the restart and bangs a clearance into touch. He'll need to put that mistake just before half-time out of his mind.


Match action

This interplay from Collins and Hutchinson in the build-up to Tuala's try is really special.


Half-time | Exeter Chiefs 14 Northampton Saints 12

Oh no! Hutchinson ghosts through and looks to link with Reinach but the Springboks drops with the line at his mercy! What a moment that could prove to be. Referee Carley blows for half-time - Saints had a penalty advantage but that went with Hutchinson's break.


Exeter Chiefs 14 Northampton Saints 12, 38 minutes

Now Courtney Lawes derails an Exeter maul. Tom O'Flaherty returns from the sin bin but Saints have a lineout just outside the Exeter 22. Biggar sits deep and attempts a just drifts wide.


Exeter Chiefs 14 Northampton Saints 12, 35 minutes

Saints spread it wide and Devoto piles in to make a tackle on Harrison but knocks on as the Northampton tries to shift it.


Match action

Here is Joe Simmonds' neat finish from earlier.


Try, Ahsee Tuala! Exeter Chiefs 14 Northampton Saints 12, 32 minutes

Well, well, well. What a try that is. Dan Biggar clips a kick that is held up in the wind and Tom Collins collects it before flicking an offload to his outside. Another cross-field kick is gathered by Naiyaravoro and then Collins offloads to Hutchinson before the outside centre flicks another pass out of contact to Tuala. Wonderful stuff from Northampton.

Biggar misses the conversion but it is very much game on.


Penalty try, Northampton Saints! Exeter Chiefs 14 Northampton Saints 7, 28 minutes

Big call from Carley. Wing Tom O'Flaherty joined the side of a Saints maul that seemed destined for the line. 

Fish is deemed to have lost the ball, but Carley awards a penalty try and sends O'Flaherty to the sin bin. Exeter are down to 14.



Has James Fish scored for Northampton?

Credit: BT Sport


Exeter Chiefs 14 Northampton Saints 0, 25 minutes

Two poor kicks from Nic White. Two box-kicks sail out on the full...and both times, Saints gaffe the lineout. However, Exeter then concede a needless penalty and Saints go to touch. Jonny Hill swims around the side of a maul. Northampton will go to the corner once more.


Remember last season's semi-final?

This is very reminiscent of how Exeter manhandled Newcastle last year.


Try, Joe Simmonds! Exeter Chiefs 14 Northampton Saints 0, 22 minutes

That's all about the versatility of Ollie Devoto. Exeter's inside centre clears up a scrappy lineout with a strong carry and then finds his way back to first-receiver. With heavy runners steaming up outside him, he pulls back a delicate pass to his fly-half, who dances through with a neat dummy. Simmonds junior then converts.


Exeter Chiefs 7 Northampton Saints 0, 20 minutes

Another kickable penalty. Another nudge to the corner from Exeter...


Exeter Chiefs 7 Northampton Saints 0, 18 minutes

Reinach slices a box-kick and O'Flaherty tears forward to catch it. Saints are then caught offside in midfield.


Try, Harry Williams! Exeter Chiefs 7 Northampton Saints 0, 16 minutes

The tighthead prop is over. It's a typical period of close-range pressure from Exeter before Williams picks. The initial tackle from Fish and Francois van Wyk is good but Williams absorbs the impact and spins over.

Credit: BT Sport

 Joe Simmonds adds the extras.


Exeter Chiefs 0 Northampton Saints 0, 15 minutes

James Fish's throw sails over the back of the lineout and Chiefs moves the ball wide to their left. Teimana Harrison is pinged for not releasing the tackled player and Saints are absorbing more pressure. There's a grubber through from Chiefs that is collected by Tuala, who cops a knee on the head from Alex Cuthbert. 

I think we'll restart the game with a Saints scrum. Nope, it's an Exeter scrum.


Exeter Chiefs 0 Northampton Saints 0, 12 minutes

Big moment. A huge shove from Saints wins a penalty.

Credit: BT Sport


Exeter Chiefs 0 Northampton Saints 0, 11 minutes 

Chiefs force a scrum penalty out of Saints tighthead Ehren Painter and hit the corner...they go off the top from the lineout and Ewers goes close. A few phases later, the back-rower picks and goes with Kvesic latching. Carley calls in his TMO...

Credit: BT Sport

 ...who cannot be sure that the ball has touched the line. It'll be a five-metre scrum to Chiefs.


Exeter Chiefs 0 Northampton Saints 0, 8 minutes 

Fantastic sequence of defence from Saints. They repel 19 phases of attack from Exeter, a passage that ends when wing Tom O'Flaherty is wrapped up by Ahsee Tuala and Harrison in the shadow of Northampton's posts.

Chiefs keep on the pressure, though. Kvesic tackles Cobus Reinach and then bounces to his feet. Reinach knocks on. Scrum to Exeter just inside Saints' 22.


Exeter Chiefs 0 Northampton Saints 0, 4 minutes

Northampton win a turnover through Alex Moon but then Taqele Naiyaravoro is swamped with Don Armand forcing a holding-on penalty. Henry Slade hits touch on the Saints 22.


Exeter Chiefs 0 Northampton Saints 0, 2 minutes

Northampton's scrum is rock solid, which will be a source of encouragement. Jack Nowell bursts past Rory Hutchinson but then fumbles under a cover tackle from Piers Francis.


Exeter Chiefs 0 Northampton Saints 0, 1 minute

Saints spread the ball from coast to coast but Chiefs hold firm and Dave Ewers makes a muscular tackle that forces a spill. 

The first scrum needs a re-set...



And we're away! Dan Biggar goes long and Joe Simmonds collects, clearing back to Saints.


Players out

Here come Northampton, led by Teimana Harrison:

Credit: BT Sport

 And now Jack Yeandle heads up Exeter's line:

Credit: BT Sport


Man in the middle

Matthew Carley takes charge as referee this afternoon.

Credit: CameraSport 


Atmosphere check


"We felt we didn't do ourselves justice"

Rob Baxter admits his side would really, really like a chance to avenge their final defeat to Saracens 12 months ago.

Credit: BT Sport


Calm before the storm

Dan Biggar takes it all in. Twenty minutes until kick-off now.

Credit: Getty Images Europe 


Head to head

Henry Slade's tussle with Rory Hutchinson should be a lot of fun.

Credit: BT Sport


When the Saints come walking in

This was about an hour ago. The players are still limbering up. 


Half an hour until kick-off

Score predictions in the comments section, please.


"The worst mistake is to think you can come in and fix everything straightaway"

Chris Boyd says it was important for him to figure out "who's who in the zoo" before starting at Northampton on a full-time basis.


"We're excited, we're looking forward to this - it's a one-off game"

Credit: BT Sport

The wing seems relaxed and ready to go. He says Saints' gameplan worked in passages last weekend and they'll be looking for something similar.


"The danger is slipping off the pace but we've been working hard"

Henry Slade tells BT Sport's Ben Kay that Exeter have been working hard to increase the 21-point gap that split the teams last weekend.

Credit: BT Sport


Last time

There's a Game of Thrones reference in this report from Dan Schofield. Have a look.

Credit: Getty Images Europe 


Second semi

So, who will Saracens face at Twickenham in their bid to defend their domestic title? We will find out next up, as Exeter Chiefs host Northampton Saints.

The fans have piled into Sandy Park. Here are a few young ones who will be supporting Exeter, you imagine:

Credit: Getty Images Europe 

Northampton have finished the regular season extremely well to snatch a place in the play-offs and this game should be fascinating. Can they reach the decider? Here are the teams.

Exeter Chiefs

Santiago Cordero has not recovered in time from his knee complaint, so Tom O'Flaherty starts on the wing with Jack Nowell at full-back.

15. Jack Nowell, 14. Alex Cuthbert, 13. Henry Slade, 12. Ollie Devoto, 11. Tom O’Flaherty, 10. Joe Simmonds, 9. Nic White; 1. Ben Moon, 2. Jack Yeandle (captain), 3. Harry Williams, 4. Dave Dennis, 5. Jonny Hill, 6. Dave Ewers, 7. Don Armand, 8. Matt Kvesic
Replacements: 16. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17. Alec Hepburn, 18. Tomas Francis, 19. Sam Skinner, 20. Sam Simmonds, 21. Jack Maunder, 22. Gareth Steenson, 23. Sam Hill

Northampton Saints

There are four changes to Saints' pack following last week's loss to the same opponents at the same venue. The message is clear. Chris Boyd wants to bolster his set piece.

15. Ahsee Tuala, 14. Tom Collins, 13. Rory Hutchinson, 12. Piers Francis 11. Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10. Dan Biggar, 9. Cobus Reinach; 1. Francois van Wyk, 2. James Fish, 3. Ehren Painter, 4. Alex Moon, 5. Api Ratuniyarawa, 6. Courtney Lawes, 7. Lewis Ludlam, 8. Teimana Harrison (captain)
Replacements: 16. Darren Dawidiuk, 17. Alex Waller, 18. Paul Hill, 19. David Ribbans, 20. Jamie Gibson, 21. Tom Wood, 22. Alex Mitchell, 23. Luther Burrell