Luke Cowan-Dickie showed no ill-effects from his recent injury absence as he helped Exeter to victory and top spot in the Premiership against Saracens.
The England hooker missed the Autumn Internationals but was back starting against the champions because of the last-minute withdrawal of Jack Yeandle.
He did not look to have skipped a beat, reacting fastest after Sam Skinner, capped by Scotland in November, charged down Ben Spencer in the first half.
That allowed Exeter to take the lead for the first time after two early Owen Farrell penalties.
They did not look back from there are Cowan-Dickie’s front-row colleague Harry Williams got over for the second on the way to a 31-13 win.
That ended a run of 22 games without defeat for Saracens, and was enough to send Exeter top of the table at Christmas.
Elsewhere in England Jonny May and Manu Tuilagi both crossed for Leicester Tigers while Wales’ Jonah Holmes grabbed two tries as they ended an eight-game losing streak at home to Harlequins.
George Ford was excellent at fly-half for the Tigers finishing with 15 points in the 35-24 victory.