London Welsh 0

Exeter Chiefs 52 (tries Waldrom 2, Ewers, Hill, Whitten, Arnott, Botha; cons Steenson 6, Slade; pens Slade)

LONDON Welsh made the worst possible start to life back in the Premiership with a humiliating seven-try defeat at the Kassam Stadium.

The Exiles would have been happy enough to host Exeter Chiefs in their top-flight opener, but were handed a lesson they will need to learn quickly if they are to avoid a repeat of their relegation two seasons ago.

And with a crowd of just 2,776, Welsh flopped off the field too.

  • Highlights from the match

Two tries from former England No 8 Thomas Waldrom, who did the same for Leicester against Welsh in 2012, got Exeter going in the first half and they proceeded to cut through some increasingly weak home defence.

It could have been even worse as Chiefs had replacement Kai Horstmann’s effort ruled out by the Television Match Official (TMO).

Former All Blacks scrum half Piri Weepu made his debut on his 31st birthday, forming a high-profile half-back partnership with ex-England international Olly Barkley.

But both had quiet games and the hosts had little to celebrate.

Welsh started well and went close after eight minutes when flanker Pete Browne could not quite hold the scoring pass on the left.

Exeter, however, struck from their first significant attack on 11 minutes as Waldrom supported well and powered over from close range.

Fly half Gareth Steenson converted and Exeter had the wind in their sails.

Scrum half Haydn Thomas almost sniped through for a second try, but Chiefs were penalised for crossing.

Browne got the home fans going with a powerful break from midfield before full back Seb Jewell was stopped on the right wing.

Waldrom twisted over for his second on 26 minutes, awarded after referee Dean Richards went to the TMO, Steenson again converting.

Welsh twice had the chance to get on the board, but Barkley missed two very makeable penalties.

Exeter centre Henry Slade then showed him how to do it with a kick from halfway, making it 17-0.

The visitors controlled the rest of the half, but it was their ability to make pressure in the 22 count that saw them well ahead at the break.

Welsh’s first attack of the second half saw them lose a line-out.

They were then warned when Exeter full back Chrysander Botha went close and conceded a third try when flanker Dave Ewers was allowed an easy close-range finish. Steenson converted for 24-0.

Welsh had barely time to steady themselves before Chiefs centre Sam Hill was cantering through the static home defence for try No 4, again converted by Steenson.

Wing Seb Stegmann was stopped just short for the hosts, but they then messed up a five-metre line-out and the chance was lost.

Just when you thought Welsh would play for pride, they became even looser in the final quarter.

Right wing Ian Whitten popped up on the left for try No 5 before replacement Jack Arnott bagged a breakaway effort.

Steenson completed a 100 per cent afternoon with both conversions.

Horstmann was denied by a video replay when some  mediocre defence would have stopped him well short.

However, Botha, who had looked lively throughout wrapped it up with a fine solo try, converted by Slade.

There was still time for Welsh replacement prop Pablo Henn and Exeter flanker Ben White to be sin-binned, but there was not even a consolation try for the hosts.

London Welsh: Jewell (Crane 61), Stegmann, May (capt), Molenaar, Scott, Barkley (Roberts 65), Weepu (R Lewis 65), Reeves (Henn 53), Britton (Vella 41), Vea (Gilding 60), Schofield (Corker 48), Down, P Browne, Thorpe (Reeves 78), McCaffrey (Stedman 61).

Exeter Chiefs: Botha, Whitten, Slade, Hill (Arnott 59), Jess, Steenson (Sweeney 65), Thomas (Chudley 34-40 [blood] & 48), Rimmer (Moon 51), Yeandle (capt) (Taione 63), Francis (Low 51), Lees (Armand 61), Caldwell, Ewers, White (Horstmann 61), Waldrom (White 75).

Referee: D Richards (RFU).

Man-of-the-match: Botha.

Attendance: 2,776.