Robbie Stephenson/INPHO Exeter outscored Saints by five tries to two.
# Breakthrough
Hogg ecstatic as Exeter book semi-final date with Toulouse
Exeter Chiefs defeat Northampton Saints 38-15 to seal the club’s first ever European Champions Cup semi-final spot.

EXETER CHIEFS EXCELLED against an injury-hit Northampton team to progress to their first ever Champions Cup semi-final following this 38-15 win at Sandy Park.

Sam Simmonds and Joe Simmonds both made a sizeable impression while the tries kept on coming as they outscored Saints by five to two in this department with Jack Maunder, Jacques Vermeulen (twice), Jack Nowell and Jonny Hill all touching down. Add in captain Joe Simmonds’ excellence from the kicking tee and you can see why they ran out such comfortable winners.

That said it was not looking all that straightforward at half-time when Saints got within four of Exeter after Teimana Harrison went over.

sam-simmonds-and-joe-simmonds-celebrate-as-exeter-score-another-try Ryan Hiscott / INPHO Sam Simmonds and Joe Simmonds celebrate a try. Ryan Hiscott / INPHO / INPHO

But Nowell, Hill and flanker Vermeulen all scored tries after the break as Exeter moved into a first-ever Champions Cup semi. Better again, it will be their home patch against Ulster’s conquerors, Toulouse.

Afterwards Stuart Hogg, their full back, said: “It is going to be a cracker.

“I have watched a fair bit of Toulouse over the last few weeks and they are a great side.

I dream of being in competitions like this and at stages like this, that is why I joined the club and love playing for this club.

“It is a huge moment for the club but we are not done yet.”

fraser-dingwall-kicks Ryan Hiscott / INPHO Northampton's Fraser Dingwall kicks. Ryan Hiscott / INPHO / INPHO

Last time Northampton were down these parts, they lost 57-7 and they had been fairly beaten up before this game even began with an injury list that forced them to start Manny Iyogun, a teenager, in the front row.

Sure enough, the opening try of the game came when Exeter won a scrum against the head – and Henry Slade slid through a midfield gap before teeing up Maunder to finish the move off.

Nine minutes later they had a second try – Vermeulen getting this one from close-range. But Saints were gutsy, Teimana Harrison’s try coming on the back of a successful maul – and with just four points between them at the break, anything seemed possible.

But the Chiefs then upped the tempo, scoring two minutes after the restart when Nowell turned on the gas and didn’t hesitate to exploit some shocking Saints defending to score try No3 for the hosts. Soon there would be a fourth, this one for Hill, and it looked there and then that a rout was possible.

Credit Northampton, though. Fraser Dingwall ran a smart line to get their second try of the day but it didn’t matter in the end, Vermeulen getting his second try three minutes from the end.

Exeter’s prize is a date with the French aristocrats, Toulouse. Yet these artisans have nothing to lose. If they back themselves, they can win it.


Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment

    Leave a commentcancel