Exeter Chiefs could be forgiven for thinking it was a case of deja vu as for the second successive season they were undone right at the death by rivals Gloucester in the Gallagher Premiership.
Whereas last season it was Jason Woodward who pounced in the dying embers, this time round it was Ben Morgan who inflicted the telling blow on Rob Baxter's side.
Morgan's late touchdown was not without controversy, however.
In the build-up to the England No.8 powering his way over just two minutes from the final whistle, it appeared Chiefs wing Tom O'Flaherty had been deliberately blocked out in his attempt to collar opposite number Ollie Thorley. Given free passage to roam, Thorley's break down the left allowed him to provide the attacking platform from which the Cherry & Whites were able to claim their match-winning score.
Even then, the drama was far from over as the Chiefs threw everything at their rivals with the last passage of play. Camped under the Gloucester posts, somehow the hosts did enough to repel the multiple raids before referee Craig Maxwell-Keys blew for time.
It signalled the end to a titanic tussle between the two sides, who throughout had traded some hefty blows in pursuit of victory.
Exeter Chiefs scrum-half Nic White dives over for his side's opening try of the game against Gloucester. Picture: www.jmpuk.com
Back in top-flight action for the first time since early January, it was familiar foes that provided the opposition for Baxter’s side in this Round 13 encounter. In what was the fourth meeting between the two clubs this season, the Chiefs arrived at Kingsholm looking to add a third triumph to their tally.
Although minus six of their frontline stars who had been retained by England head coach Eddie Jones for the week, it was still a powerful line-up that the Devonians were able to parade on this return to action.
Gloucester, meanwhile, were at full-strength for the encounter, welcoming back Ruan Ackermann, Tom Marshall andWoodward after lengthy spells on the sidelines.
With personnel in place, the opening minutes were largely restricted to a game of ‘kick tennis’ as the two sides went blow for blow with an array of lengthy kicks, all of which were aimed at looking to glean crucial territory.
For the full match reoport, go to https://www.exeterchiefs.co.uk/news/gloucester-24-chiefs-17