CENTRE Ryan Mills admits Worcester Warriors began formulating a master plan to “shut down” the Exeter Chiefs machine two weeks ago.

Warriors sent shockwaves through the Aviva Premiership when they stunned the league leaders 6-5 at Sandy Park last Saturday.

It was the first time Warriors had won at Exeter since 2004 while Chiefs had gained maximum points in their 10 previous home league games.

But Worcester arrived in Devon having recently claimed the scalp of the defending champions in the Anglo-Welsh Cup at Sixways.

And Mills said his side’s 31-21 triumph over an understrength Chiefs team that day helped with their preparations ahead of the trip to Exeter.

“It was almost like a warm-up game against them last time,” Mills said.

“We knew that the personnel would change, but the way they would play would be exactly the same no matter who they played in certain positions.

“For us we worked out what we could do to shut them down and what we could do to possibly hurt them and then just tried to implement it against a stronger team.

“We reviewed that Anglo-Welsh Cup game really hard and were very critical on ourselves so we have basically worked for the past two weeks on putting this game plan together.

“And we managed to shut them down nicely on Saturday.”

Two Chris Pennell penalties gave Warriors a 6-0 lead at half-time. Exeter responded with a try from Mitch Lees on 57 minutes.

But Gareth Steenson’s missed conversion proved crucial as Worcester held firm to secure a memorable victory.

“It was awesome,” said Mills whose side crashed to a 57-22 defeat at Exeter last season.

“Exeter are one of the hardest sides to play against as they have got the potential to beat you and beat you well.

“They are the highest on points scored, time on the ball, rucks for, tackles against them and they put you under massive pressure.

“So for us to be able to front up and show our defence is good enough to handle them for 80 minutes is brilliant.”

Warriors completed 176 of their 199 tackles against Exeter and Mills said their ability to win the physical battle proved the difference.

“Our forwards really fronted up,” Mills said.

“Jackson Willison, Bryce Heem, Dean Hammond and Chris Pennell shut down everything out wide very well too.

“We did not let them have front foot and go wide against us.

“Our forwards banged them in the middle of the park and then our outside backs shut them down really well in those wide channels.”

The victory has moved second-from-bottom Worcester 12 points clear of relegation zone ahead of their home clash against local rivals Gloucester on Saturday (3pm).

“We were going into a really tough block in the season,” Mills said.

“We knew we had a tough four weeks ahead of us so this was a great way to kick it off after a little break.

He added: "Exeter have got a great squad with threats all over the park.

“This was a great away win for us.”