Rob Baxter hailed his Exeter side’s character after they overcame a string of obstacles and a flying start from Glasgow to seal a place in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals.

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The Aviva Premiership leaders needed only a point to seal top spot in Pool 2 and managed three after a pulsating 31-31 draw.

Exeter had to deal with illness and injury and then got lost on their way to Scotstoun after being rerouted as an estimated 80,000 Scottish independence supporters marched through Glasgow.

They conceded two tries to Tommy Seymour and Huw Jones in the opening eight minutes but scored the next three before being pegged back on the stroke of half-time.

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Matt Kvesic scored his second of the game to put the Chiefs ahead but they survived some late pressure in torrential rain, and a disallowed Sam Johnson try, after Niko Matawalu’s effort and a brilliant Adam Hastings conversion got Glasgow level.

Director of rugby Baxter said: “We were 14 points down and interestingly enough our message to the players before the game was just to come here and show character.

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“We hadn’t had a perfect week, we had a short turnaround from a Premiership game last Sunday and had to change the team every day in training with players dropping out through head injuries and illness, and even had to change the 23 last night with Don Armand being ill.

“Sean Lonsdale called lineouts and that’s the first senior game he has had to do it. There were other guys making senior debuts, Will Whitty and Tom Price making their front-line debuts. There were things there that you wouldn’t want to happen in a Heineken Cup week.

“We got disrupted in our travel, turned up late and the weather is changeable. Everything was a challenge and we have dealt with it.

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“There was a march on in the city centre and our hotel was city centre. We turned one way and turned another and roads were being shut. We ended up skirting our way round. We ended up in a couple of housing estates and wondered whether we were ever going to get out.

“The lads have just got on with it and showed great character and it feels like we have got a winning draw because it has achieved everything we wanted to achieve.

“The key is the home quarter-final now and what the three points has done has meant it is in our hands.”

Warriors were left to rue yellow cards in each half for Callum Gibbins and Fraser Brown – Exeter scored three tries with numerical advantage – and two huge chances for Jones which disappeared when he failed to pick up the ball.

Exeter scoring

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

Head coach Dave Rennie said: “We had four opportunities where if it sits up we score.

“I’m really happy with the character and courage, we just needed to turn some of the pressure into points and we didn’t.”

Glasgow move on to 12 points and Rennie admits finishing as one of the three best runners-up looks unlikely.

“We are disappointed because we did enough to get five points,” he added. “We will see what happens in those other games and find out what we need to do next week. The chances are slim.

“We will assess and go and throw everything at Sale.”

Press Association

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