|Exeter: (7) 21|
|Tries: Townsend, Williams, Ewers Cons: J Simmonds 3|
|Harlequins: (10) 20|
|Tries: Care, Baldwin Cons: Smith 2 Pens: Smith 2|
Dave Ewers’ try with five minutes left saw second-placed Exeter overturn a 13-point second-half deficit to beat third-placed Harlequins at Sandy Park.
Having almost conceded twice early on Quins went ahead through Danny Care’s 13th minute try before Stu Townsend levelled eight minutes later.
Scott Baldwin’s try and a Marcus Smith penalty saw Harlequins’ lead grow to 20-7 before a Harry Williams try.
And after sustained pressure on the Quins line Ewers went over for the win.
The visitors almost went over in the final minute after a line break by Smith, but Ewers forced a turnover on Exeter’s own five-metre line to ensure victory.
Defending champions Exeter consolidate second place in the Premiership and are now five points clear of Harlequins, who earned a losing bonus point. Quins are two points clear of fourth-placed Sale who visit Northampton on Saturday.
But for two fine last-ditch tackles Exeter could have scored two tries from excellent line breaks in the first 10 minutes, as Joe Simmonds and the ever-dangerous Tom O’Flaherty were hauled down close to the line by Smith and Care respectively.
Both sides struggled to keep hold of the ball in wet conditions, but it was former England scrum-half Care who struck first. The 34-year-old went over unopposed for his 65th Premiership try after quick hands in the forwards that released Alex Dombrandt with Care on his shoulder for the offload.
Townsend scored from close range after a well-worked line-out routine by Exeter, before 22-year-old Smith kicked his first penalty for Quins on his 100th appearance to give the visitors a 10-7 lead at the break.
Harlequins went further ahead five minutes after the restart when Baldwin was forced over from a five-metre line-out.
They then crucially saw a Ben Tapuai try ruled out for a knock on in the build-up before Smith went on to land a second penalty to make it 20-7 with 25 minutes left.
A quick tap penalty by Townsend gave Exeter the position for Williams to get his first try of the season and the Chiefs could have gone further ahead 12 minutes from time when Ewers broke through, but James Chisholm did well to turn the ball over close to his line.
But following a five-metre line-out Exeter stretched the field, and after a number of phases on the Quins line, Ewers was on hand to go over to secure a key win over a play-off rival.
Exeter Chiefs: Cordero; Cuthbert, Whitten, Hendrickson, O’Flaherty; J Simmonds (capt), Townsend; Hepburn, Innard, Williams, Kirsten, S Skinner, Ewers, Vermeulen, S Simmonds.
Replacements: Taione, Moon, Street, Lonsdale, Capstick, Hidalgo-Clyne, H Skinner, Devoto.
Harlequins: Brown; Green, Marchant, Tapuai, Murley; Smith, Care; Marler, Baldwin, Louw, Symons, Lewies, Chisholm, Evans, Dombrandt.
Replacements: Gray, Garcia Botta, Collier, Young, Lawday, Landajo, Herron, Northmore.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys.