Exeter Chiefs just fell short in a brave fightback as they lost 17-14 to Gloucester in the Premiership Rugby semi-final.

Gloucester were excellent in the first period and overpowered the Chiefs with Lewis Ludlow, Max Llewellyn and Josh Hathaway all dotting down for a 17-0 lead at the half-time interval.

Whatever was said in the Exeter dressing room, it clearly had an impact, as the Chiefs surged back into the game. Jacques Vermeulen showed all his strength to bash his way through the home defence in reducing the arrears, Harvey Skinner slotting the conversion for 17-7.

Ross Vintcent was next to score, bundling over the line from close range, and Skinner again added the extras to set up a tense finale. The Chiefs continually knocked on the Gloucester door but the home side dismissed their poor league form this season to hold on for victory.

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon: "We weren't great in the first half. The amount of mistakes we made, how slowly we looked to play, we were pausing at rucks, there wasn't a lot of chat going on there. There wasn't a lot of direction and we did some odd things in odd situations and put ourselves under pressure in a lot of ways.

"Looking at it now you can see the dangers that can happen with young players around distractions. That can happen with young guys. We were not quite aligned as we needed to be which has hurt us and has cost us the game.

"When we look back at how many try-scoring opportunities we have created and not taken we are going to be massively frustrated.

"But I'm really pleased with their response after half-time because they had a choice then of go home or turn up and play and they turned up and played and we did some good things."

Baxter’s Gloucester counter-part George Skivington said: We set out our marker early doors that we wanted to do something in this competition. I'm really pleased with the boys. In the first half we controlled things well. In the second half we could have controlled it better but Exeter threw everything at it.”