Rugby League Cup Final: Exeter Chiefs crush London Irish with a comeback win in extra time

Having lost in extra time to Worcester last year, London Irish suffered another extra time defeat in the Premier League Cup Final as Aidon Davis cruised to a 24-20 victory over Exeter Chiefs. The Irish have extended their wait for the trophy to 21 years, while Exeter add to their wins in 2014 and 2018.

Last update: 3/23/19 5:35 PM

Exeter Chiefs celebrate their Premier League Cup Final victory over London Irish

London Irish hearts were broken for the second year in a row with an extra time attempt from Exeter Chiefs winger Aidon Davis, which saw the Premier League trophy snatched from their hands, extending their long wait for the trophy.

Last season Worcester denied them success by scoring more tries in a 25-25 draw, but the Irish looked poised to end their 21-year drought this time around until a late yellow card to winger Josh Basham turned Exeter the way, with the Chiefs eventually making 24. -20 winners – in addition to their trophy wins in 2014 and 2018.

For the Irish, Jacob Atkins, playing at outside half, converted both tries scored by hooker Ignacio Ruiz, while also adding two penalties.

Jack Ennard, Josh Yovesa-Scott and Davies scored Exeter’s tries, with Ewan Jenkins scoring a conversion and a penalty, along with Joe Symonds adding two conversions.

Exeter’s Tom White secured his side an early attacking platform. Placing a ball deep into his own half, the full-back easily slipped past two defenders, but despite a period of sustained pressure the Irish managed to keep their line intact.

With their first incursion on the 22nd, the home team took the lead after 15 minutes when Ruiz crashed from the lead line.

That converted try was the only score in a lively opening quarter in which the Irish were the dominant force, but their crippling streak provided the chance for enterprising Exeter’s support to flourish.

The penalty shoot-out high in favor of the Chiefs was also helping their cause so it was no surprise when they leveled the scores when captain Ennard slotted his way in from close range.

After 33 minutes, Exeter were hit twice in a row. First, Danny Southworth was shown a yellow card for a big challenge on No. 8 So’otala Fa’aso’o, allowing the Irish to capitalize on Ruiz’s second try.

Atkins converted before Jenkins kicked a 40-metre penalty to reduce the arrears and the Irish went into half-time with a 14–10 lead.

Southworth came back from the sin-box just in time to see his team fall further behind when Atkins kicked a penalty, which was awarded for an intentional knock-down by leader No. 8 Ross Tuema.

The penalty was the only score in an evenly contested third quarter, as Exeter brought in experience Ulis Devoto, Yannis Kirsten and Symonds to try to turn the tide in their favour.

With seven minutes remaining, Irish winger Basham lost to Sin Penn for a massive challenge for Sean O’Brien’s position and it proved costly as Iosefa-Scott crashed, with Symonds taking the game into extra time.

Exeter lost Kirsten to an assessed head injury before Basham returned in time to see his side regain the lead with a simple penalty from Atkins.

However, the Irish missed Davies’ restart to end a period of pressure, with a conversion from Symonds sealing victory and despair for the Irish.

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