Aviva Premiership

Chiefs hold off Wasps to book first Premiership final

Exeter Chiefs booked a first appearance in the Premiership final courtesy of a pulsating 34-23 victory over Wasps at Sandy Park.

Two penalty-tries and further five-pointers from Ian Whitten and Dave Ewers, along with six successful kicks from Gareth Steenson secured the win for Rob Baxter's men who will face Saracens at Twickenham next weekend.

The result sparked wild celebrations among the home fans who have now seen their side lose just once at home in all competitions since January 2015.

Wasps, meanwhile, were appearing in their first semi-final since 2008 and took the Chiefs to the wire, with Carlo Festuccia and Dan Robson finding the line in the first half amid wet and windy conditions.

Their cause was not helped by Festuccia picking up a yellow card just before the break, however, and they were ultimately unable to repeat the victory they enjoyed over the Chiefs in last month's Champions Cup quarter-final.

Roared on by a vociferous home crowd, Exeter took an early lead courtesy of two penalties from Premiership Golden Boot winner Steenson.

But having weathered the early storm, Wasps hit back as hooker Festuccia burrowed over from close range for the first try of the afternoon.

And although Whitten swiftly restored the hosts' lead after a fine offload from Jack Nowell, the visitors replied again on the half-hour as Nathan Hughes and Frank Halai created the gap for Robson to find the line.

It was the Chiefs who led 20-14 at the break, though, as their sustained pressure yielded a penalty try and a yellow card for Festuccia who was penalised for bringing down a rolling maul.

The game continued to see-saw early in the second half as 14-man Wasps managed to land two penalties through Jimmy Gopperth, while flanker Ewers crashed over for Exeter's third try and Steenson added the extras to make it 27-20. 

Another Gopperth penalty on the hour set up a tense final quarter, but the Devon side dug deep and finally made the game safe in the closing moments when their pressure at scrum-time forced Wasps to concede a second penalty-try.