Nathan Earle’s double helps Harlequins stun Premiership leaders Exeter

Exeter’s director of rugby, Rob Baxter, was magnanimous in defeat after his side suffered their first loss of the Premiership season at the hands of Harlequins in a thriller at the Stoop.

Joe Marchant’s crucial late tie swung the game in Harlequins’ favour despite a late rally from the leaders as Chiefs fell to their first away reverse since 18 February, 28-26.

Two tries from Nathan Earle either side of the break put Quins back ahead but Exeter did not lose their heads as Jack Yeandle and Ollie Devoto reduced their lead to a single point before Marcus Smith’s penalty and Marchant’s try ended the visitors’ challenge.

Despite surrendering an eight-game winning streak, Baxter believes the defeat will only serve as further inspiration for their Champions Cup clash against Gloucester next week.

“I was interviewed before the game and asked about our away record and I said that we have got quite an extended group who know how to win and to make it hard for the opposition,” Baxter said. “I think that’s the bit we got the most wrong today because it felt like multiple times when we started to get back into the game, that that’s where we errored.

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