Chiefs hand Bulls a Champions Cup lesson
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: The Bulls have been given a harsh reality check by Premiership club Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.
At the back of an incredible win over Lyon in Round one, the Bulls were far from impressive on the road. They struggled and in the end, suffered a 14-44 defeat to Exeter Chiefs.
*To recap all the action CLICK HERE!!!
The Premiership side were ruthless and outscored the visitors six tries to two for the bonus-point win.
England star and Exeter Chiefs captain Luke Cowan-Dickie scored a hat-trick of tries, while Dave Ewers, Henry Slade and Solomone Kata were the other try-scorers with Joe Simmonds kicking 14 points.
Bulls were largely overpowered but managed to demonstrate their attacking quality through scores from Stravino Jacobs and Chris B. Smith.
Exeter took an early lead through a penalty from flyhalf Simmonds, but Bulls responded through wing Jacobs, who was allowed to cruise in unchallenged from 20 metres in a concerning moment for the hosts.
But they would wrestle control from that moment on, flank Ewers burrowing over on 10 minutes as Bulls’ ill-discipline began to cost them.
Two well-constructed lineout mauls put hooker Cowan-Dickie over twice in 15 minutes, and Exeter’s power was evident again just before the break as centre Slade dotted down following a series of dominant carries from the forwards.
With that score wrapping up the bonus point, Simmonds extended the lead to 25 points heading into the break as he slotted his second penalty of the half.
And Cowan-Dickie powered over for his hat-trick shortly after the restart, with his close-range finish stemming from Exeter’s dominant scrum forcing another penalty.
Bulls looked dangerous on the rare occasions they secured clean ball, and flyhalf Morné Steyn created their second try on 54 minutes as his chip over the top bounced kindly for centre Smith to gather and cross.
But Exeter responded instantly, utilising an overlap in simple yet efficient fashion to send replacement centre Kata over in the corner.
There were no further scores as the game fizzled out over the final 20 minutes, a yellow card for Ewers late on taking some gloss off his superb performance.
Bulls and Exeter face off again in Round three, with the Premiership side travelling to Pretoria on January 14.
Man of the match: There were a lot of standout performers for Exeter Chiefs, including Dave Ewers. However, our nod goes to Exeter Chiefs captain Luke Cowan-Dickie, who was accurate at the line-outs and scored three tries.
For Exeter Chiefs:
Tries: Ewers, Cowan-Dickie 3, Slade, Kata
Cons: Simmonds 4
Pens: Simmonds 2
Tries: Jacobs, C.B Smith
Cons: Steyn 2
Yellow card: Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs, 76 – Dangerous high tackle)
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Rory O’Loughlin, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Sam Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Christ Tshiunza, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Dafydd Jenkins, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie (captain), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Santiago Grondona, 21 Will Becconsall, 22 Solomone Kata, 23 Josh Hodge.
Bulls: 15 Wandisile Simelane, 14 Sibongile Novuka, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Chris B Smith, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Morné Steyn (captain), 9 Bernard van der Linde, 8 Muller Uys, 7 WJ Steenkamp, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Janko Swanepoel, 4 Reinhardt Ludwig, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Bismarck Du Plessis, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Joe van Zyl, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Sebastian Lombard, 19 Cameron Hanekom, 20 Phumzile Maqondwana, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Carlton Banies, 23 Juan Mostert.
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Jonathan Dufort (France), Vincent Blasco Baqué (France)
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (France)