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Exeter took revenge on arch-rivals Saracens in their first meeting since the salary-cap scandal broke but their 14-7 Gallagher Premiership victory was marred by a late red card for Harry Williams as tempers flared at Sandy Park.
Converted tries by Nic White and Jacques Vermeulen scored in each half swept the Chiefs to a victory against opponents who have been docked 35 points and fined £5.4million for exceeding the league’s £7m ceiling for wages.
Exeter had more reason than any other Premiership club to feel aggrieved after losing the two most recent Premiership finals to Mark McCall’s men, prompting their owner Tony Rowe to call for them to be stripped of their titles and threaten legal action.
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For all the Chiefs’ anger – director of rugby Rob Baxter has also been vocal in his dismay at Saracens – an ugly match failed to ignite until the 77th minute when a ferocious brawl broke out on the sideline.
It was sparked by White sitting on Duncan Taylor and in a flash large numbers of players locked horns, including the substituted Williams who joined in from the Exeter dug out.
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