Investec Champions Cup: Toulouse 64-26 Exeter – Five-time winners reach semi-finals in style

Home » Investec Champions Cup: Toulouse 64-26 Exeter – Five-time winners reach semi-finals in style
Investec Champions Cup quarter-final
Toulouse: (17) 64
Tries: Ntamack, Willis, Kinghorn 2, Ahki 2, Dupont, Mallia 2 Con: Kinghorn 5, Ramos 3 Pen: Kinghorn
Exeter: (16) 26
Tries: Roots, Wimbush Con: Slade 2 Pen: Slade 4

Scotland’s Blair Kinghorn scored 23 points as five-time Investec Champions Cup winners Toulouse swept aside Exeter in style to reach the semi-finals.

Romain Ntamack and Jack Willis scored tries in a tight first half as Exeter hit back through Ethan Roots.

Toulouse took control in the second half and Kinghorn scored either side of Pita Ahki’s try, before Antoine Dupont and Juan Cruz Mallia also crossed.

Ahki and Mallia made it nine Toulouse tries to set up a tie with Harlequins.

Exeter, winners in 2020, showed plenty of resolve in the opening period and Henry Slade’s boot kept them within touching distance at the interval when they trailed 17-16.

But the Premiership side began to tire after the break and Toulouse were much improved as they kept the ball alive in contact to punish the visitors with six tries in the final 30 minutes.

Exeter suffer against Toulouse onslaught

Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter opted to travel to France with an unchanged squad from the one which beat Bath in the last 16 and, for the first 40 minutes, they fronted up to the daunting challenge.

Ntamack crossed after a fine team move but Roots burrowed over after a quick tap as Exeter looked alert early on.

Willis welcomed Harvey Skinner to the Stade Toulouse with a thumping shove on his way to the line, but Slade kicked three penalties as Exeter trailed by a single point.

The England centre edged the visitors in front from the tee after the break, before Kinghorn claimed his first try and Ahki latched on to a fine team move to hand Toulouse the advantage once more.

Kinghorn doubled his tally minutes later, and then more neat hands in the backs freed Dupont for a run-in as the French side took complete control.

Zack Wimbush crashed over to land a 61st-minute consolation for Exeter but Ntamack threw a delightful pass for Mallia to get over in the corner.

The hosts were not done there, though, and Ahki and Mallia rounded off two more flowing moves to add the gloss as Toulouse maintained their bid for a sixth European Cup title – and Exeter suffered their heaviest defeat in the competition.

‘Hugely proud’ – what they said

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter: “I have to say I’m hugely proud of the players for the commitment they put into the game.

“I couldn’t have asked anything more of them for what they’ve laid on the line, both physically and emotionally.

“When we came in at half-time, I think we had done a lot of what we wanted to do. The game was hugely competitive, we were right in the mix, and we put an awful lot physically into the game.

“In the second half, we probably couldn’t maintain our quality in a couple of key areas.”

Line-ups

Toulouse: Kinghorn; Mallia, Barassi, Ahki, Lebel; Ntamack, Dupont (c); Baille, Mauvaka, Aldegheri, Arnold, Meafou, Willis, Cros, Roumat.

Replacements: Marchand, Neti, Merkler, Flament, Brennan, Graou, Ramos, Costes, Chocobares.

Exeter: Hodge; Feyi-Waboso, Slade, Devoto, Woodburn; Skinner, Cairns; Sio, Yeandle, Painter, Tuima, Jenkins (capt), Roots, Tshiunza, Vintcent.

Replacements: Innard, Southworth, Street, Pearson, Fisilau, Townsend, Haydon-Wood, Wimbush.

Referee: Chris Busby (Ireland)

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