DIRECTOR of rugby Alan Solomons paid tribute to Worcester Warriors’ “absolutely outstanding” defensive display as they stunned leaders Exeter Chiefs 6-5 at Sandy Park.

Two penalties from full-back Chris Pennell saw Warriors move 6-0 in front at the end of an error-strewn opening period.

Lock Mitch Lees burrowed over from close range on 57 minutes to get Exeter within one point of Worcester but Gareth Steenson crucially missed the conversion.

The defending champions applied pressure, but the Sixways side held firm to claim a memorable win which sees them move 12 points clear of the drop zone.

Solomons said it was “wonderful day” for Warriors who had not won at Exeter since 2004.

“What the players achieved out there was absolutely incredible,” said Solomons.

“We spoke about managing the game in those conditions which I thought the boys did very well.

“We know they are a momentum team and it was important for us to match their physicality and go toe-to-toe with them in the scrum, maul and in defence.

“I thought all three were outstanding.”

Pennell pushed a penalty kick well wide at the start of the second half before Exeter cut back the deficit with a try from Lees.

But Worcester, who were thrashed 41-10 by Chiefs in September, refused to be beaten to the delight of Solomons.

“Our defence was absolutely outstanding so I must pay tribute to the boys and our defence coach Omar Mouneimne,” Solomons said.

“We spoke about taking 20 minutes at a time and dividing the game into four quarters which we did.

“We spoke about what we needed to do in each quarter and what we did at the end was key.

“We knew we had to show tremendous heart because we were going to have to defend for long periods.

“Exeter hold the ball for long passages of play and I thought the heart shown by each and every one of the players was absolutely incredible.

“The players made up their minds that they were not going to lose this game whatever happened.”

The 67-year-old, who took over as Warriors boss in late December, said he could not single any player out for praise, insisting it was a team effort.

“The result is a testament to everyone, both and off the field, at the club,” he said.

“It is a wonderful day for Worcester Warriors.

“I have coached for 42 years and I have not seen many games like that.

“The effort that went in and the determination to keep them out and to win that game is a rare quality. It was phenomenal.”