Leinster defeat reigning champions in quarter-final
Exeter Chiefs’ dreams of a ‘double-double’ are over as Leinster remain on track for a record fifth European Champions Cup title.
Leo Cullen's side overturned a 14-point deficit to defeat the reigning European champions 22-34 at Sandy Park and progress into the semi-final.
The Pro14 champions, now unbeaten in their last 8 European away games, will find out who they’ll face in the semi-final draw tomorrow evening (17:00).
In sunny conditions at Sandy Park, the hosts, playing in their sparkling gold kit, started superbly against their Irish opponents.
Within just ten minutes, Chiefs’ in-form winger Tom O’Flaherty bagged two early tries to catapult Exeter off to a sensational start; captain Joe Simmonds comfortably slotted both conversions.
However, the visitors responded exquisitely, and they eventually went through the gears to level proceedings with two converted tries before the half hour mark.
A confident looking Leinster outfit then took the lead soon after, thanks to two penalty kicks from Ross Bryne; Exeter trailed 14-20 at the break.
The reigning European champions turned up the heat early in the second half.
Another fine 20-metre break from O’Flaherty put Exeter within touching distance of Leinster’s try line – and from short range, Dave Ewers powered his way over for a crucial score. Simmonds missed the extras, but he slotted a penalty kick soon after to give his side a slender lead.
But Leinster dominated the rest of the game, yet again, they regained the lead thanks to another three points from Bryne.
The four-time European champions then landed another huge blow as Larmour dotted the ball down in the corner, before Bryne added three more points with the boot.
A valid effort from the Chiefs – but they were unable to overturn the 12-point deficit. It ended: Exeter 22 Leinster 34