Harlequins boss John Kingston insisted the margin of victory flattered Exeter after the defending Premiership champions posted an error-strewn 31-17 victory at Sandy Park yesterday.
Quins led at the break but Chiefs lock Jonny Hill scored two second-half tries to earn Exeter a bonus-point win after Ollie Woodburn and Lachie Turner had both crossed the line during the opening period.
James Chisholm and Tim Visser touched down for Quins, who were chasing a third straight Premiership win for the first time since 2014. Defeat left them eighth in the table, while the win propelled Exeter to the summit.
“It was a game of small margins and tight TMO [television match official] calls,” said Kingston. “Sometimes you get decisions and some not and that reflects the difference between the sides. It wasn’t a 14-point game.”
Leicester, meanwhile, moved to third after scoring two late tries to seal a comeback triumph against Sale, winning 35-27, and record their sixth successive league win.
Gareth Owen and Nick Malouf dotted down to seal Leicester’s fightback after Sale had led 27-23. Former Sale fly-half Joe Ford scored 13 of Leicester’s 35 points, while wing Marland Yarde scored on his debut for the Sharks.
London Irish suffered their seventh consecutive Premiership defeat after losing 22-18 to Bath. The Exiles stay bottom of the table.