Challenge Cup: Exeter Chiefs 33-13 Connacht

Will Chudley
Chudley scored Exeter's first try of the game against Connacht
Exeter Chiefs: (19) 33
Tries: Chudley, Slade, Welch, Ewers, White Cons: Steenson 4
Connacht: (6) 13
Tries: Carr Pens: Ronaldson 2 Cons: Ronaldson

Exeter Chiefs ran in five tries against Connacht to move top of pool two in the Challenge Cup.

Tries from Will Chudley, Henry Slade and Damian Welch gave the Chiefs a 19-6 half-time lead, with Craig Ronaldson kicking Connacht's points.

The Chiefs ran away with it in the second half, as Dave Ewers and Ben White also crossed.

Despite their deficit, Connacht continued to push and earned a consolation try through Fionn Carr.

The Pro12 club started the day top of the table after their 48-12 victory over La Rochelle last weekend, but they came up against an improved Exeter, who made 12 changes from their defeat by Bayonne.

Pool two standings
PlayedBonus PointsPoints
1Exeter226
2Connacht215
3La Rochelle204
4Bayonne204

Ronaldson's long-range penalty opened the scoring for the the visitors but scrum-half Chudley crossed under the posts for the opening try, which was converted by Gareth Steenson.

Slade extended Exeter's lead when he dotted down over the ruck to notch his fourth try in four games.

Ronaldson reduced the deficit for Connacht from the tee but the Chiefs took a 13-point lead at the break thanks to Welch's score, which was set up by England wing Jack Nowell and converted by Steenson.

Gareth Steenson
Gareth Steenson has now surpassed 1,500 points for Exeter Chiefs

Exeter secured a bonus point straight after the restart when Ewers finished off from a break down the right, and White landed a fifth try from a recycled penalty.

Steenson kicked his fourth conversion of the game to take his points tally past 1,500 for the club.

Connacht produced a slick passing move to finally cross the line but Willie Faloon's score was disallowed.

However, their persistence paid off when Carr made a break from the half-way line to cross over and Ronaldson converted.

Exeter Chiefs: Botha; Nowell, Slade, Hill, Jess; Steenson, Chudley; Moon, Yeandle (capt), Low; Armand, Welch; Ewers, White, Waldrom.

Replacements: Taione, Sturgess, Francis, Naqelevuki, Horstmann, Lewis, Whitten, Vainikolo.

Connacht: Leader; Adeolokum, Henshaw, McSharry, Poolman; Ronaldson, Porter; Buckley, Harris-Wright, White (capt); Swift, Kearney; Browne, Faloon, Naoupu.

Replacements: Heffernan, Loughney, Ah You, Muldowney, Qualter, Blade, Carty, Carr.

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)

Attendance: 8,484.

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