European Champions Cup: Exeter beat Racing 92 31-27 to raise first Champions Cup title

European Champions Cup: Exeter beat Racing 92 31-27 to raise first Champions Cup title

Exeter win Champions Cup
Exeter and Racing 92 had been each making an attempt to raise their first Champions Cup title
Exeter (21) 31
Tries: Cowan-Dickie, S Simmonds, Williams, Slade Cons: J Simmonds 4 Pen: J Simmonds
Racing 92 (12) 27
Tries: Zebo 2, Imhoff, Chat Cons: Russell, Machenaud Pen: Machenaud

Exeter Chiefs had simply sufficient to maintain Racing 92 at bay and clinch their first Champions Cup title in an exciting remaining at Ashton Gate.

Luke-Cowan Dickie, Sam Simmonds and Harry Williams barged over to present Exeter a nine-point lead on the break.

However Racing roared again with Simon Zebo’s second attempt to Camille Chat’s surge bringing them inside some extent.

Exeter, right down to 14 males after Tomas Francis’ late yellow card, held out heroically to raise the title.

A breathless remaining 10 minutes featured Racing turning down the drop-goal alternative as they went by means of the phases inside 5 metres of the road, Exeter substitute Sam Hidalgo-Clyne securing a turnover below the shadow of his personal posts and captain Joe Simmonds touchdown a penalty with the final act of the match.

Even then the drama was not over.

The match clock initially confirmed that three seconds remained for Racing to restart and mount a remaining assault. Nevertheless, after consulting along with his staff officers, referee Nigel Owens confirmed that the clock had not restarted when Simmonds was lining up his penalty and that he might blow up, sparking delirious celebrations.

The victory marks the end result of a outstanding decade for Exeter, who gained promotion to the Premiership for the primary time again in 2010 in a play-off match throughout Bristol on the metropolis’s Memorial Stadium.

Rob Baxter’s aspect will try to finish a double subsequent weekend once they tackle Wasps within the Premiership remaining.

Enterprise-like Exeter v free-running Racing

Racing before kick-off
Racing emerged for kick-off within the pink bow-ties which might be a membership custom

The conflict of kinds was clear as quickly because the groups emerged right into a coronavirus-enforced empty Ashton Gate.

Racing 92 trotted onto the pitch sporting pink bow-ties, in a nod to the Parisians’ fast-living free-running previous.

Exeter marched out in business-like style, grim-faced and ahead trying, by means of a gauntlet of their replacements and backroom workers.

Racing introduced bursts of color and panache, however the Chiefs’ mastery of close-range trench warfare finally saved them one step forward all through an exciting contest.

Racing scrum-half Teddy Iribaren had the possibility to present his aspect an early platform. As a substitute he screwed a penalty useless as he aimed for the nook and 5 minutes later Cowan-Dickie compelled his means by means of the center of a pushed maul for the primary attempt.

Iribaren’s eccentricities continued as he handed blind to place Juan Imhoff below stress earlier than Russell juggled in his personal in-goal space. Racing put themselves below stress and Exeter gleefully pressed them past breaking level.

Sam Simmonds barged by means of reverse quantity Antonie Claassen on the finish of a sequence of short-range bursts from his fellow forwards.

Fourteen factors forward with solely 16 minutes gone, Exeter chairman Tony Rowe seemed like he was struggling to maintain his enjoyment of examine within the stands.

However Racing refused to go quietly.

Russell’s cut-out go tempted Tom O’Flaherty out of place and opened a path to the nook for Zebo earlier than Imhoff ghosted by means of the perimeter defence to chop the hole to 2 factors.

Harry Williams crossed on the stroke of half-time for Chiefs however Zebo, out of contract subsequent summer season, confirmed his high quality with one other highly effective end to maintain the French aspect inside a rating early within the second half.

In the end although, Racing’s errors undermined their brilliance.

Two minutes after Zebo’s second, with the momentum with the French aspect, Scotland fly-half Russell threw a looping mis-pass simply outdoors his personal 22m. It might have sprung a counter-attack. As a substitute it was picked off by an alert Jack Nowell who put Henry Slade below the posts.

That rating moved Exeter to twenty-eight factors, a complete Racing might by no means overhaul regardless of Chat’s bulldozing attempt to their late stress.

Russell’s percentages come up brief

Finn Russell
Russell’s brilliance helped create a late semi-final profitable attempt in opposition to Saracens

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland was one of many handful of spectators in attendance on the behind-closed-doors remaining.

The efficiency of Russell could have given him a lot to ponder.

The Scotland fly-half’s sensible chip created a dramatic late rating that undid defending champions Saracens within the semi-final and there have been moments of imaginative and prescient and precision in opposition to Exeter.

Nevertheless, his high-risk, high-reward recreation means expensive errors are additionally inevitable. Even earlier than his go was intercepted for Slade’s attempt, his juggle behind his personal line had virtually gifted Exeter a rating within the first half.

Will Gatland really feel he can afford that trade-off within the white warmth of a Take a look at sequence in opposition to world champions South Africa subsequent summer season?

Man of the match – Jonny Hill

Jonny Hill
Second row Jonny Hill’s Herculean efficiency included 16 tackles – greater than some other Exeter participant

Response – ‘the most effective staff in Europe by a ways’

Former England scrum-half Matt Dawson on BBC Radio 5 Reside: “It is a tremendous achievement for Exeter. There cannot have been one other profitable staff which have solely been within the high flight of their league for 10 years. And so they deserve it as a result of they’ve been the most effective staff in Europe by a ways.

“I do not suppose I’ve seen a remaining like that – they are usually extra cagey. When a staff goes as far forward as Exeter did you suppose it is a one-way present, however it was Exeter who had been hanging on on the finish.

“Sport does some unusual issues to your feelings and there was large pressure and drama even in an empty stadium.”

Former England centre Jeremy Guscott: “Properly carried out Racing for coming again into the match however the distinction was that Exeter are a staff whereas Racing have people. Exeter completed the match with 14 gamers on the sector however backed themselves in a defensive place and have gained it collectively.”

Line-ups

Exeter: Hogg; Nowell, Slade, Whitten, O’Flaherty; J Simmonds (capt), Maunder; Hepburn, Cowan-Dickie, Williams, Grey, Hill, Ewers, Vermeulen, S Simmonds.

Replacements: Moon for Hepburn (56), Yeandle for Cowan-Dickie (56), Francis for Williams (56), Kirsten for Vermeulen (56), Skinner for Grey (59), Devoto for Whitten (59), Hidalgo-Clyne for Maunder (65)

Not Used: Steenson.

Racing 92: Zebo; Dupichot, Vakatawa, Chavancy (capt), Imhoff; Russell, Iribaren; Ben Arous, Chat, Colombe, Le Roux, Chook, Lauret, Sanconnie, Claassen.

Replacements: Machenaud for Iribaren (41), Kolingar for Ben Arous (51), Baubigny for Chat (51), Oz for Colombe (51), Beale for Zebo (65), Klemenczak for Vakatawa (76), Palu for Claassen (76).

Not Used: Ryan.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

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