Exeter 41-10 Montpellier: Chiefs claim maximum Champions Cup points
Last Updated: 13/01/18 5:43pm
Olly Woodburn scored two tries as Exeter kept their European Champions Cup hopes alive with a crushing 41-10 bonus-point win over Montpellier at Sandy Park.
The win moved Exeter one point ahead of Montpellier in Pool Three but they are still five points behind leaders Leinster, who play their game in hand at home to winless Glasgow on Sunday.
Dave Ewers, Sam Simmonds, Don Armand and Nic White were Exeter's other tryscorers with Gareth Steenson adding three conversions and Joe Simmonds one - he also kicked a last-minute penalty.
Montpellier, the Top 14 leaders, were hugely disappointing with their forwards being comfortably outmuscled by a dominant home pack. Their only points came from a try by Nemani Nadolo and a penalty and a conversion from Aaron Cruden.
Montpellier shaded the opening exchanges as the Chiefs' line-out malfunctioned. They lost three consecutive throws but the visitors could not capitalise with their captain Louis Picamoles coming the nearest to scoring when he broke away from a line-out only to be hauled down 10 metres short.
As a result, the first quarter ended scoreless as both sides frequently infringed and regularly turned over possession to prevent any real flow.
After 23 minutes, the hosts had their first chance for points when, after a succession of forward drives, Luke Cowan-Dickie looked set to force his way over but the hooker lost possession in the tackle and the French were able to relieve
However, Exeter continued to dominate the second quarter and four minutes later were rewarded with the first try after a clever pass from Steenson sent Mitch Lees haring into the opposition 22.
The lock was brought to ground but Chiefs recycled for former Montpellier player White to make further inroads before Ewers drove over.
Steenson converted but, from the restart, Exeter made a couple of needless errors to allow the visitors a period of pressure.
They lacked the accuracy to finish, though, so Chiefs deservedly held a 7-0 lead at the interval.
After the restart the hosts had the advantage of the wind and despite Montpellier changing both props, Chiefs continued to dominate at the scrum to win a number of crucial penalties.
However, it was the French who picked up the next score when Cruden kicked a simple penalty after 52 minutes, but straight from the restart Exeter extended their lead with a close-range try from Simmonds.
Six minutes later, the home side secured victory when Woodburn squeezed in at the corner for Chiefs to lead 19-3 at the end of the third quarter.
Montpellier's second-half slide continued as they conceded a fourth try, with Woodburn showing remarkable determination to force his way between two tacklers to pick up the vital bonus point.
The visitors had now totally capitulated for White and Armand to score further tries to ram home Exeter's superiority. Nadolo's late effort was a mere consolation.