European Professional Club Rugby | Story so far: Exeter Chiefs

As the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 draws ever closer, we detail each side’s path to the knockout stage, selecting key moments, players and stats.

We continue our look at the 16 teams with an overview of Exeter Chiefs…

Path to the Round of 16

Exeter qualified in sixth place in Pool A after winning their two home games and losing their two away fixtures against Glasgow Warriors and Montpellier Hérault Rugby.

The Chiefs’ pool schedule began in stunning fashion with a 42-6 rout of Montpellier at Sandy Park, 35 unanswered points coming in the second half, with lock Jonny Gray notching a rare hat-trick of tries.

However, they were brought down to earth with a 22-7 loss in Glasgow in Round 2, before gaining revenge over the Scottish region at Sandy Park, where they hammered the Warriors 52-17, again running riot in the second half with six tries . Wing Tom O’Flaherty grabbed a treble.

no. 8 Sam Simmonds was Exeter’s third hat-trick hero of the pool stage in Round 4, but it was not enough to prevent Montpellier’s 37-26 success.

key moment

The 59th minute of Exeter’s home drubbing of Montpellier, when Jonny Gray became the first lock to score three tries in a Heineken Champions Cup tie.

key player

Sam Simmonds, EPCR European Player of the Year in Exeter’s Heineken Champions Cup-winning season in 2019/20, has again been their leading light with his extraordinary try-scoring feats, chalking up seven in the four games to take his overall career tally to 19 in 21 European appearances.

Key stats

  • As well as being the leading try-scorer in the Heineken Champions Cup so far this season, Sam Simmonds is also fourth highest points-scorer with 35, joint second in the carries with 49 and joint sixth among the top tacklers with 42.
  • In addition to their No.8, Exeter also have two other players in the top 10 try-scorers – wing Tom O’Flaherty and lock Jonny Gray, who share fifth place on three.
  • Hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie and back-row forward Dave Ewers are also among the leading carriers, the former in seventh with 43 and the latter in joint eighth with 42.
  • Cowan-Dickie and Ewers feature as well in two other categories, Ewers in the tacklers with 42 and Cowan-Dickie in the turnovers, where he is placed joint fifth on four.

Round of 16 opponents

Exeter take on two-time champions Munster Rugby in the last 16, with the first leg at Sandy Park on April 9 being followed by the second a week later at Thomond Park. Both ties will be televised by BT Sport and beIN SPORTS as Exeter seek their first win against the Irish province in the competition at the third attempt.

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