EXETER’S Nic White insists Saturday’s victory over Sale Sharks was one to ‘cherish’ as the Chiefs continue to lead the way in the Gallagher Premiership.

Rob Baxter’s side were made to fight all the way by a Sharks outfit, who hit back from a 15-0 half-time deficit before the Chiefs eventually ran out 20-14 winners at the AJ Bell Stadium.

First half tries from Ollie Devoto and Don Armand, coupled with five points from the boot of Gareth Steenson, had given the league leaders the perfect 40 minute display. However, Sale countered after the break, scoring converted tries of their own through Sam James and Will Cliff, either side of a Sean Lonsdale touchdown for the visitors.

In what was a full-blooded encounter throughout, Aussie international White was quick to praise the efforts of his team-mates as they recorded their 12th win in 15 league games.

“We knew it was going to be tough coming up here, lots of teams have struggled here this season, so for us to come away with the win was a big result and it’s one that we will definitely cherish,” said White.

“Credit to them, they threw everything at us today and we had to stand tall at times out there. It may not have been the prettiest game at times, but it was two teams really climbing into each other.

“As a player it was an exciting game to be part of, but I’m sure there will be a few sore bodies afterwards. I don’t think anyone left anything in the tank out there, there was so much going into the carries, the tackles and the breakdown, it was a full-on contest. Thankfully, though, we’ve come away with the win and we’ll move on to next week.”

Up next for the Chiefs is Saturday’s trip to Sixways, where Worcester Warriors – who themselves lost to Newcastle Falcons at the weekend – will be looking to throw a spanner into the works of the Devonians.

Last season they caused quite a stir when they became the only side to down the Chiefs at Sandy Park in the Premiership – and it’s that threat which will ensure Baxter’s side take nothing for granted come the weekend.

Following Saturday’s success, the Chiefs have reported a clean bill of health for those involved against Sale. However, prop Alec Hepburn has been called into a 31-man England training squad preparing for Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Italy and it remains to be seen whether he will be available for the Worcester game.

The Chiefs are already without fellow internationals Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ben Moon, Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Harry Williams all of whom are with England, while Tomas Francis (Wales) and Sam Skinner (Scotland) are also away.

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