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Exeter seal Champions Cup quarter-final spot with thrilling draw at Glasgow

Exeter's Matt Kvesic scores a try in the first half at Scotstoun (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Stuart Hogg was denied a last-minute winner against former club Glasgow as his 50-metre penalty hit the bar but a pulsating 31-31 draw edged Exeter into the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals.

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The Gallagher Premiership leaders needed only a point to secure top spot in Pool Two and the teams shared eight tries and sixty-two points at Scotstoun.

Glasgow were left to rue yellow cards in each half – to Callum Gibbins and Fraser Brown – and two huge chances for Huw Jones which went begging in the opening five minutes of the second half.

They move on to twelve points ahead of their final game at Sale next weekend and have slim hopes of reaching the last eight as one of the three best runners-up.

The teams were level at the midway stage after Exeter bounced back from conceding two tries inside the opening eight minutes and Warriors were ultimately grateful for Niko Matawalu’s try and a brilliant conversion from Adam Hastings to level the scores – although they thought they had won it before Sam Johnson had a try disallowed.

(Continue reading below…)

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Warriors made a flying start, Brown releasing Tommy Seymour to cross inside the first minute. Gibbins soon gave away a penalty which allowed Joe Simmonds to get the visitors off the mark but Glasgow moved further ahead when Jones used Seymour outside him to dummy and burst through.

Hastings added his second difficult conversion but Warriors gifted their opponents a way back in when Johnson’s pass was intercepted by Nic White just inside his own half and the Australian scrum-half had a free run to the line.

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Hastings added a penalty but the game turned when Gibbins shoulder-charged Jacques Vermeulen in a ruck and caught him in the head with his arm. The French match officials delivered the yellow card after studying video footage and the Chiefs quickly made their numerical advantage count as they drove for the line and Matt Kvesic emerged to touch down.

Exeter went ahead for the first time following some purposeful possession play. Jack Nowell made some good ground before Vermeulen went over. With Gibbins back on, the hosts hit back quickly. Hogg spilled from the restart and his former team-mates piled on the pressure. Hastings set up George Horne after a dummy, hand-off and offload, and the fly-half levelled with his boot immediately before the half-time whistle.

Glasgow nearly scored again in the opening minute after Kyle Steyn plucked Hastings’ crossfield kick out the sky and laid the ball out wide, but Jones could not collect with the left flank empty. Worse was to follow for the centre when he kicked forward following a loose Exeter pass and only had to pick up the ball 10 metres from the try line. However, he fumbled and knocked on.

Exeter regained the ascendancy and Brown paid the price after four infringements in quick succession as Glasgow defended desperately on their line. Kvesic made it count quickly again as he crossed following the penalty in the 55th minute. Glasgow hit back seven minutes later when replacement winger Matawalu got the crucial touch in the corner following a lineout maul. Hastings produced a brilliant conversion into the wind.

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The hosts thought they had gone ahead eight minutes from time when Sam Johnson took Rob Harley’s inside pass to score but, after a big-screen examination, Hastings was penalised for a forward throw after taking two players out with a looping pass out wide. Exeter survived some late pressure which was ultimately relieved by a penalty on the halfway line and Hogg almost stole the show.

– Press Association 

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Shaylen 1 hours 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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