|Leicester (20) 20|
|Tries: May, T Youngs Cons: Ford 2 Pens: Ford 2|
|Exeter (28) 52|
|Tries: Kvesic, Yeandle, Woodburn, Slade, Devoto, Cordero, Nowell Cons: Simmonds 7 Pen: Simmonds|
Leicester Tigers remain deep in Premiership relegation trouble after captain Tom Youngs was red-carded in a heavy home defeat by leaders Exeter.
Hooker Youngs was dismissed in the 56th minute after referee Tom Foley ruled he had made contact with Chiefs lock Ollie Atkins’ head at the breakdown.
Free-flowing Exeter ran in seven tries, with seven different scorers.
Leicester head to bottom side Newcastle on Friday with just a five-point cushion and four games to play.
Exeter scored the opening try of the game through Matt Kvesic, who streaked down the touchline to finish.
Leicester hit back quickly with a George Ford penalty, but Exeter went through the phases to put captain Jack Yeandle over for a try.
England wing Jonny May struck back again to reduce the gap to four after 24 minutes.
But Tigers’ celebrations were short-lived as the Chiefs brought up the bonus-point score with two tries in five minutes from Olly Woodburn and Henry Slade.
A yellow card to Jack Nowell again offered Leicester a way back into the game and a Ford penalty, quickly followed by a converted Youngs try, cut the gap to eight points at half-time.
The Chiefs added to their total with a wonderful Ollie Devoto score, Slade cutting a great line through the Tigers defence and offloading to his midfield partner to finish.
Departing Argentine wing Santiago Cordero then crossed the whitewash after elegantly evading the challenge of two defenders.
The major flashpoint of the game arrived after Leicester thought they had scored their third try through Matt Toomua, but his score was chalked off when the referee was alerted to Youngs’ indiscretion.
The hooker was adjudged to have made no attempt to wrap his arms and having made contact with Atkins’ head, he was dismissed.
That rounded off a bad day for the Youngs family, after Tom’s brother Ben was been ruled out for the season with injury.
Nowell got in on the action to round off the scoring, running the ball in from his own half after intercepting Toomua’s pass.
Leicester head coach Geordan Murphy:
“Things went against us today, some big decisions, but the boys stuck at it.
“We have to be tight as a group and battle through everything. They worked hard for each other, even though we made mistakes. I want them to stick together and keep working hard.
“Every game is important. It’s a precarious position. We have a huge game next week.
“It’s a red card to the letter of the law and I get that, especially for player safety but it just needs to be refereed across the board. I see that incident a lot in the Premiership and it’s not a red card.”
Exeter head coach Ali Hepher:
“The way our attack functioned and the pace we got into the game was pleasing.
“We were able to keep the ball for good periods and find some space. We’re building nicely, we’re a mentally strong side now and that bodes well for the future.
“It’s not at all important [finishing first]. It’s important how we perform through the rest of the season.
“We have to make sure we don’t let the foot off the gas. We can get better, certainly on the defensive side and elements of our attack are just gaining momentum.”
Leicester: Toomua; May, Tuilagi, Eastmond, Olowofela; Ford, Harrison; Genge, Youngs (capt), Cole, Spencer, Kitchener, Fitzgerald, Williams, O’Connor.
Replacements: Kerr, Gigena, Heyes, Mapapalangi, Thompson, White, Owen, Aspland-Robinson.
Exeter: Cordero; Nowell, Slade, Devoto, Woodburn; Simmonds, White; Hepburn, Yeandle (capt), Williams, Dennis, Atkins, Ewers, Armand, Kvesic.
Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Moon, Francis, Lonsdale, Capstick, Maunder, Hill, Whitten.
Referee: Thomas Foley.
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