• Exeter 30-6 Leicester
• Chiefs cut loose in final quarter to inflict sixth straight loss on Tigers
The year 2017 has been a truly memorable one for Exeter and here was a last seasonal cherry on the top. The Chiefs are entering the new year with a 10-point lead at the top of the table and some of the country’s traditional big beasts are finding it increasingly hard to keep up. The Tigers had seven England internationals in their matchday 23 here and still finished a distant second.
To make the New Year’s Eve drive home to the east Midlands even less enjoyable, this was Leicester’s sixth successive defeat in all competitions, their worst sequence since 1965. The intervening 52 years have contained plenty of good times but with Northampton also toiling – the duo now sit in 9th and 10th place respectively – the balance of power is tilting away from the English game’s traditional strongholds. Over the past 12 months Exeter have collected 19 points more than anyone else and their director of rugby, Rob Baxter, correctly described it afterwards as “one of those years you don’t want to end”. There is certainly no sign of the Chiefs’ ambitions slackening.