European Rugby Champions Cup: Bordeaux-Begles 12-20 Exeter Chiefs

Exeter's Kai Horstmann and Bordeaux's Romain Lonca
Exeter's Kai Horstmann tries to burst though the tackle of Bordeaux's Romain Lonca
Bordeaux-Begles (6) 12
Pens: Beauxis 3, Serin
Exeter (7) 20
Tries: Waldrom, Cowan-Dickie Cons: Waldrom, Slade Pens: Slade 2

Exeter Chiefs showed plenty of fighting spirit to earn their first Champions Cup win of the season at Bordeaux.

Exeter's chances of reaching the last eight are all but over after three previous losses in Pool Five.

But the Chiefs led 7-6 at half-time courtesy of a Thomas Waldrom try, before Bordeaux wing Nans Ducuing was sent off for an illegal challenge on opposite number Olly Woodburn.

Returning hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie clinched it for Exeter with a late try.

Exeter's 13-7 defeat by Bordeaux last Sunday virtually ended the English side's chances of reaching the quarter-finals.

But head coach Rob Baxter demanded a strong display, with matches against Bath, Saracens and Leicester coming up over the festive period.

Two penalty kicks from fly-half Lionel Beauxis, the second after Mitch Lees was sin-binned for slowing the ball down at a ruck, gave the hosts an early lead.

But Exeter hit back with a try from Waldrom, the number eight barging over from the back of a ruck after Henry Slade had split the Bordeaux defence.

Slade's conversion gave the visitors a slender half-time lead but Beauxis booted Bordeaux ahead again after Kai Horstmann stole the ball illegally at a line-out.

Eight minutes into the second half, Woodburn was taken out in the air by Ducuing as he claimed a kick and the Bordeaux winger was shown a red card.

Ducuing had his eyes on the ball but the fact that Woodburn was flipped and landed on his neck gave the referee no other option, according to the law.

A regulation Slade penalty edged Exeter ahead again before Cowan-Dickie rumbled over from close range.

Bordeaux full-back Geoffrey Cros should have scored in the corner but dropped the ball over the line before Slade made certain of victory with a late three-pointer.

Bordeaux's defeat makes Clermont and Ulster, who play each other on Sunday, favourites to advance to the knockout stages.

Post-match reaction

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter: "We have to keep challenging the players but ultimately, when you look at the changes we made and the fact we won, it's pretty pleasing.

"Some of our players, like Henry [Slade] and Jack [Nowell] will only get better from this.

"Overall though it's an excellent result and I was pleased with the attitude we showed in defence. That played a big part in us winning the game."

Line-ups

Bordeaux-Begles: Cros, Ducuing, Lonca, Vakacegu, Dubie, Beauxis, Audy, Taofifenua, Avei, Clerc, Palmer, Botha, Goujon, Edwards, Tauleigne.

Replacements: Doubrere for Audy (50), Civil for Taofifenua (63), Auzqui for Avei (63), Cazeaux for Botha (62), Madaule for Edwards (33).

Not Used: Poux, Serin, Buttin.

Sent Off: Ducuing (49).

Exeter: Dollman, Nowell, Whitten, S. Hill, Woodburn, Slade, Chudley, Rimmer, Cowan-Dickie, Williams, Lees, Atkins, Ewers, Horstmann, Waldrom.

Replacements: Campagnaro for S Hill (61), Low for Rimmer (56), Maunder for Chudley (56) Malton for Cowan-Dickie (74), Armand for Ewers (31), Dennis for Atkins (59), Holmes for Williams (45).

Not Used: J Simmonds.

Sin Bin: Lees (29), G Holmes (64).

Ref: John Lacey (Ireland).

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