Chiefs scrum Gloucester into submission
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Exeter Chiefs put a massive dent in Gloucester’s play-off hopes with a bonus-point 29-17 win a Kingsholm Stadium on Friday.
In fact Chiefs put themselves back in the race and also gave Munster a distinct advantage in Pool Two.
Munster can take a giant leap towards the play-offs when they play Castres Olympique on Saturday.
The Irish province top the pool with 11 points after three matches, followed by Exeter and Gloucester both on eight points after four matches.
The Chiefs forwards laid the platform for an impressive win – especially in the scrums, where they conceded a string of penalties and lost prop Josh Hohneck to the sin bin for 10 minutes, after a yellow card with just on 10 minutes of the match remaining as a result of repeated scrum infringements
It was Exeter’s best Champions Cup display of the season.
The away side were winless coming into the match, but started the strongest – forcing three penalties in kicking range and the third of them resulted in the first try of the match.
A powerful driving maul presented the opportunity and it was Sam Skinner who dived over.
Gloucester finally got some attacking play going and got their opening score, with Jason Woodward the man to exploit the overlap, after a pair of stunning kicks from Danny Cipriani into the corner.
Don Armand then powered over the try line as the clock turned red in what proved to be a crucial score on the stroke of half-time. For the second time, Gareth Steenson made no mistake from the kicking tee.
In the second half, Billy Twelvetrees was sent to the sin bin, when Exeter were closing in on the try line, with Steenson opting for the three points instead.
Gloucester gave themselves a lifeline through Jason Woodward, who grabbed a second try for the home side, but it wasn’t enough as Exeter’s Jack Yeandle and Harry Williams both dived over in between a Tom Hudson score, giving the away side a bonus point victory.
Next up, Gloucester host Munster in Round Five, while Exeter will take on Castres Olympique.
Tries: Woodward 2, Hudson
For Exeter Chiefs:
Tries: Skinner, Armand, Yeandle, Williams
Cons: Steenson 3
Yellow cards: Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester, 42), Josh Hohneck (Gloucester, 70)
Gloucester: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Willi Heinz (captain), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Gareth Evans, 6 Freddie Clarke, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Josh Hohneck.
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker, 17 Alex Seville, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Gerbrandt Grobler, 20 Alex Craig, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Matt Banahan, 23 Tom Hudson.
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Joe Simmonds, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Tom Lawday, 7 Don Armand, 6 Sean Lonsdale, 5 Sam Skinner, 4 Dave Dennis, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Jack Yeandle (captain), 1 Alec Hepburn.
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Mitch Lees, 20 Wilhelm Van der Sluys, 21 Sam Maunder, 22 Ollie Devoto, 23 Phil Dollman.
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Vincent Blasco Baqué (France), Cédric Marchat (France)
TMO: Denis Grenouillet (France)