Rob Baxter’s Exeter Chiefs will use this week to ready themselves for a straight shoot-out with one of European Rugby’s top guns, Munster, to see who will advance out of Pool Two in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup.
With their aspirations seriously faltering after three rounds of battle, Devon’s finest have recorded back-to-back, bonus point victories against Gloucester and Castres to give themselves a more than fighting chance.
Just four points separate leaders Munster and the Chiefs heading into the final round of action next weekend.
Thomond Park will be packed to the rafters as the two-time Kings of Europe prepare to face off against Baxter and his Chiefs, who warmed up for that encounter by easily dispatching Castres on home soil.
Exeter dominated from start to finish, producing arguably some of their best rugby of the season so far to run in six tries on the day. The returning Jack Nowell claimed the first, before team-mates Joe Simmonds, Jonny Hill, Tom O’Flaherty, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie all got in on the scoring act.
Joe Simmonds glides over for Exeter's second try of the game
Castres, who had won the earlier meeting between the two clubs back in October 29-25, grabbed consolation scores through Taylor Paris and Thomas Combezou, but that was scant reward on a miserable day, which was compounded when prop Tudor Stroe was sent off in the second half by Irish referee George Clancy.
Knowing nothing less than victory would suffice for them, the Chiefs were quickly into their groove. Despite making nine changes to their line-up from that which had seen off Bristol Bears in the Premiership the week previous, it was a razor-sharp opening from the home side.
For the full match report, go to: https://www.exeterchiefs.co.uk/news/chiefs-34-castres-12