Champions Cup: Exeter Chiefs grateful for home play-off after Castres demolition

Dylan Coetzee
Champions Cup: Exeter Chiefs celebrate penalty try against Castres

Exeter Chiefs forwards coach Rob Hunter highlighted the importance of securing a home knockout in the Champions Cup after their win over Castres on Saturday.

Hunter’s men claimed a resounding 40-3 win over the French side, guaranteeing a top-four finish and a home play-off.

Poor discipline from the visitors

The visitors were their own worst enemies as number eight Feibyan Tukino was red-carded in the first period. The French side briefly went down to 12 players thanks to three yellow cards during the remainder of the game.

The forwards coach is pleased with how Exeter stuck to their processes and targets a deep run into the competition.

“It wasn’t straightforward. It has been a season of highs and lows so far,” Hunter said.

“It was a very erratic first half from both sides but I am very pleased with the way we stuck at it, shook ourselves off and finished with a flourish.

“It is really important to get that home draw. History would say that being at home in this competition is an important thing.

“From here on in you have just got to win the next game. Whoever we get will be pretty tough. We are passionate about Europe – it is such an amazing competition.

“We love Europe and we want to stay in it for as long as we can.”

Welshmen Christ Tshiunza and Dafydd Jenkins had sublime outings, as did the England trio of Henry Slade, Sam Simmonds and Jack Nowell, who all scored tries.

Several stars have confirmed their departure from the club, with Simmonds and Luke Cowan-Dickie two players heading to Montpellier, while Nowell is also expected to leave Exeter.

Positive future despite departures

Hunter praised the Welsh duo and wished the best for the players set to leave the club.

“Christ and Dafydd will continue to learn, so them going away with the Wales boys, they will learn a lot,” he added.

“Dafydd’s game understanding for a young guy is second to none, as is Christ’s athleticism. Christ running tries in is something I would like to see for the next 10 years.

“The players leaving don’t owe the club anything. They’ve had some tremendous successes here. We wish them the very best.

“It will be a very emotional farewell. They are a very tight-knit group, guys we have seen grow up together.

“It will be great for them to experience a different culture, a different country, a different team.”

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