Exeter Chiefs 42
Glasgow Warriors 0
THE sense of inevitability about how this game panned out won’t make it any easier for head coach Danny Wilson or his Glasgow Warriors squad to swallow.
Exeter did what Exeter do to squeeze the life out of Warriors, who can’t be criticised for their attitude – it was a tribute to their determination that they limited the scoring to six unanswered tries – but who just couldn’t get a foothold in the game.
So starved of possession were the visitors that whenever they did manage to get their hands on the ball, they invariably pushed too hard against a defence which wasn’t going to give them any easy outs, and so ended up making life even harder for themselves with costly errors which handed the initiative straight back to the hosts.
Exeter were as ferocious in defence as they were with ball in hand – from the first minute until the last – leaving the hapless Warriors completely harassed.
“It was very frustrating and very disappointing,” said Warriors head coach Danny Wilson afterwards. “If you give 10 penalties away in the first half against a team that you want to keep out of your 22 then you’re going to kill yourself, which is what we did.
“We were downwind for the first half but we were stuck in our own 22, and for the wrong reason: discipline. That led to the second half going into the wind and they kicked well to pin us back.
“We were chasing the game from inside our 22. I think we had 37% of the territory and you’re not going to challenge the European champions with that while conceding as many penalties as we gave away.”|
This was Exeter’s biggest ever win in the Champions Cup, and it could easily have been more. Apart from a long-range Peter Horne penalty in the second minute which hit the post, Warriors didn’t ever get close to scoring.
Aided by a flurry of unnecessary Warriors penalties – nine inside the first half hour – Exeter soon took a strangle-hold.
Their famous line-out drive thundered over the line twice inside a minute. The first time the ball was held up so referee Mathieu Raynal called play back to an earlier penalty, the second time there was no stopping the home team, with Sam Simmonds getting the downward pressure.
Exeter didn’t show too much behind the scrum during the first half, apart from when Tom O’Flaherty came off his wing to split Glasgow’s defence on an arcing run straight off a scrum. If he’d managed to get the ball away to Stuart Hogg on his outside it would have been a near certain score, but it wasn’t a straight-forward pass so the winger ducked back infield, and the chance slipped by on this occasion.
Having quickly recovered from their early wobble, the home scrum bagan to dominate, earning the penalty on Glasgow’s five-meter line from which Jonny Gray eventually burrowed over to claim his first try for his new club, against his old club.
To compound the damage for Glasgow, they also lost Sam Johnson to the sinbin as the latest offside culprit during the lead-up to that score.
The visitors did well to avoid the loss of any more points during that period at a numerical disadvantage, but the traffic was almost entirely one way.
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The loss of stand-off Pete Horne and hooker George Turner with head injuries inside the space of two minutes just before half-time further complicated matters for the visitors. With Adam Hastings and Fraser Brown ruled out of the match before kick-off, Warriors were effectively down to their third choices in both those key positions – and it showed. Not ideal when you are up against the best team in Europe.
At 0-14 down at half-time, Glasgow probably felt relieved that they were still – theoretically – in touch, but they were now going to have to play the second 40 minutes into the strong wind, and Exeter were unlikely to be profligate after the break as they had been at times before the turnaround.
And so it proved within three minutes of the restart, when a bustling run from Olly Woodburn past Ryan Wilson and Brandon Thomson created the space on the right for Hogg to scoot over for another old-boy’s try against Warriors.
Glasgow did well to batten down the hatches as Exeter turned their screw with their line-out drive, but then shot themselves in the foot when they overthrew a line-out of their own to gift Jack Yeandle the bonus-point try at the tail.
Try number five arrived on 65 minutes when the exceptional Sam Simmonds not only stole the ball from Kiran McDonald on the deck but then found a way to power 15 yards forward to roll Exeter’s attack into gear. Ollie Devoto then sent an inch-perfect grubber in behind for Woodburn to race onto and over the line.
Jonny Hill finished the scoring off in injury time when O’Flaherty broke clear from a very similar ploy to the one he had used so effectively in the first half, and although Warriors got back to snuff out the initial threat, the home cavalry arrived en masse with the replacement second-row blasting over.
Exeter Chiefs: S Hogg (H Skinner 68); O Woodburn, H Slade (I Whitten 61), O Devoto, T O’Flaherty; J Simmonds, J Maunder (S Hidalgo-Clyne 56); A Hepburn (B Moon 57), J Yeandle (L Cowan-Dickie 57), H Williams (M Street 57), J Gray, S Skinner (J Hill 61), D Ewers (R Capstick 68), J Kirsten, S Simmonds.
Glasgow Warriors: G Bryce; T Seymour (L Jones 76), N Grigg, R S Johnson, L Jones (H Jones 56); P Horne (B Thomson 36), A Price (J Dobbie 61); O Kebble (A Seiuli 56), G Turner (G Stewart 38) , Z Fagerson (E Pieretto 69), R Harley (H Bain 76), S Cummings, K McDonald, M Fagerson, R Wilson ( T Ioane 65).
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France).
Exeter Chiefs: Try: S Simmonds, Gray, Hogg, Yeandle, Woodburn, Hill; Con: J Simmonds 5.
Scoring sequence (Exeter first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 14-0 (h-t) 19-0; 21-0; 26-0; 28-0; 33-0; 35-0; 40-0; 42-0.
Yellow cards –
Glasgow Warriors: Johnson