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Exeter reap heavy revenge on Glasgow Warriors in hunt for QFs

By PA
PA

Exeter kept themselves firmly on course for a place in the Heineken Champions Cup knockout phase after beating Glasgow 52-17 at Sandy Park.

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The Chiefs emphatically avenged their defeat in the Glasgow fog just before Christmas, finding overdrive after trailing by three points with 50 minutes gone.

Exeter, European champions in 2020, cut loose with four quickfire tries to demolish Glasgow’s victory hopes and secure a bonus-point success that brought the round of 16 within touching distance.

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Wing Tom O’Flaherty scored a hat-trick, while there was a double for number eight Sam Simmonds before skipper Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jack Nowell and Dave Ewers also scored. Fly-half Joe Simmonds kicked four conversions and centre Henry Slade two.

Glasgow, who now face a crunch clash against La Rochelle in their final pool game next weekend, posted tries through lock Kiran McDonald and flanker Matt Fagerson, both converted by Ross Thompson.

But they had no answer to Exeter’s pace and power once the Chiefs clicked into gear.

Exeter prop Alec Hepburn missed out due to suspension following his sending-off against Harlequins last weekend, so Ben Moon deputised, while Sam Skinner and Sean Lonsdale forced Chiefs’ second-row partnership and O’Flaherty replaced Facundo Cordero.

Glasgow head coach Danny Wilson made a solitary switch to his starting line-up, recalling number eight Jack Dempsey as the teams met for a ninth time in European competition.

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Level on points with Exeter before the game in Pool A, Glasgow made strong early running and were rewarded when Thompson kicked a sixth-minute penalty.

Exeter’s first attacking opportunity came from a five-metre lineout, but Glasgow’s defensive structure was up to the task, only for them to be undone by a high-class Chiefs try.

The home forwards patiently went through phase-play and when space opened up they cashed in as O’Flaherty appeared in midfield and applied a clinical finish, with Simmonds’ conversion putting Exeter 7-3 ahead.

Exeter now had momentum, and they struck again five minutes later – this time from a close-range lineout – as Sam Simmonds touched down and his brother added the extras.

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Glasgow needed to regroup in the face of Chiefs’ onslaught and they responded impressively, setting up strong foundations inside Exeter’s 22 before McDonald breached the home defence from close range.

Thompson kicked the conversion as Glasgow put themselves back in contention, trailing 14-10 at the interval.

And they regained the lead just four minutes into the second period, courtesy of more impressive work by flanker Rory Darge that set up an attacking opportunity.

McDonald featured prominently and it was Fagerson who finished off following sustained pressure, with Thompson’s conversion putting Glasgow three points in front.

But the lead lasted only four minutes as Exeter’s forwards stirred once more, generating quality possession that set up Simmonds for his second try.

And before Glasgow could recover from that setback, Exeter hit them again, claiming a bonus-point after Joe Simmonds’ kick was gathered by an unmarked O’Flaherty, who had a simple finish.

Simmonds converted, leaving Glasgow 11 points behind for a second time as the game moved into its final quarter.

There was more to come from Exeter and Cowan-Dickie pounced for their fifth try that completed a spectacular scoring blitz of 19 points in eight minutes.

Glasgow had nothing left in the tank and there were further scores for O’Flaherty, Nowell and Ewers, with Slade adding two conversions as Exeter brought up a half-century, scoring 38 of those points during the second period.

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Shaylen 59 minutes ago
Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink

If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

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Jon 7 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

This is a bit dramatic for me, I think the Rebels and Force cultures would be very strong, and if a player is chosen from either, you can be confident they are in a good head space and ready. Whether they quite have the technical or tactical foundations of the other two states is where one would way their risk of selection. I see no need for Schmidt to worry about that risk in this squad. The main reason I could see a predominance of players from Brumbies and Reds, is simple cohesion. What might the coaching group make of what’s lacking in the Tahs, and to a lesser extent Rebels and Force’s, franchise? Certainly sides (players) that are running irish plays like we saw from that lovely McDermott long ball with have a head start. I hope the players can continue it at International level. Really liked what I saw of Wright (don’t know player focus and just hadn’t seen a lot of him anyway) in that game, can see him being a glue in a Wallaby side too. A with the similar worry of selecting players like Ryan, I think it unfounded to worry so much about forward balance at the moment. Including both Wright and Skelton in the same lineout is not going to lose you games gainst Wales. Nor will any unknown weakenss Wales might find in Ryan be exploited to any great extent. It is the perfect time to introduce such a young player. What other shortcuts might Schmidt want to make now, just a year out from hosting BIL? When Gamble came on the scene I thought he had a Pocock ability to break game apart along with performing the role of a openside well. I would be very keen to drop Leota/Hooper for Gamble, and in your squad make up, include Uru as a lock. Did you forget to remove Vunivalu from your team? Would you have Meafou in your squad if you could?

114 Go to comments
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FEATURE Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt
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