London Welsh’s Aviva Premiership survival hangs by a thread after their 74-19 thrashing by Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park on Saturday.

Indeed, the Exiles’ inevitable relegation would have already taken place had not Leicester Tigers scored a late try to gain a 16-12 victory over second-to-bottom club Newcastle Falcons yesterday.

The bonus point Newcastle gained from the game, leaves Welsh 24 points adrift at the foot of the table.

To have any hope of avoiding the drop, Exiles would have secure a maximum 25 points from their remaining five games, when the league resumes in three weeks’ time.

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Saturday’s result represented Welsh’s 27th straight loss of a wretched season – and the third time that their opponents have racked up more than 70 points.

For 20 minutes though, Welsh threatened to record their first victory as tries from Nathan Trevett and Seb Stegmann plus a Tristan Roberts conversion frustrated an impatient home crowd.

Will Chudley’s try, however, turned the tide and the home side had the bonus point racked up before the break, as Tom James, Jack Yeandle and Matt Jess crossed in quick succession.

Slade needed less than two minutes after the restart to add try No 5, and with it the floodgates opened.

Scores from Thomas Waldrom (2), Ian Whitten plus two penalty tries made the game safe.

Slade converted five of Exeter’s ten tries and added two penalties, while Gareth Steenson landed four conversions.

Stegmann’s second try late on, converted by Alex Davies, was no consolation for sad Welsh.

Exeter Chiefs: Dollman, James, Whitten (Slade 71-74), Hill, Jess, Slade (Steenson 55), Chudley (Lewis 55), Rimmer (Sturgess 59), Yeandle (CowanDickie 52), Francis (Brown 59), Mumm (Lees 55), Welch, Ewers (White 59), Armand (McGuigan 68),Waldrom.

London Welsh: Kear, Stegmann, Reynolds, Tincknell (May 60), Awcock, Roberts (Robinson HT), Lewis (Davies HT), Trevett (Aholelei 53), Morris (Elloway 53), Vea (Gilding 28), West (Corker 60), Down, McCaffrey, Thorpe, Fonua (Hala’ufia 60).

Referee: C Maxwell-Keys.

Attendance: 8,721.