Exeter Chiefs player ratings: Sam Simmonds empties the tank but La Rochelle’s muscle too much in Champions Cup semi-final loss

Adam Kyriacou
Sam Simmonds

Following their 47-28 defeat to La Rochelle in the Champions Cup semi-final at Matmut Atlantique on Sunday, here are the player ratings for Exeter Chiefs.

15 Tom Wyatt: An early missed tackle on Levani Botia close to the touchline, fortunately, didn’t prove costly, but Wyatt’s first half didn’t get much better, over-cooking a touch-finder and not holding onto a pass that would have seen him go over the whitewash. Replaced by Stuart Hogg on 49 minutes. 4

14 Jack Nowell: An uncharacteristic mistake saw him knock-on at a ruck close to La Rochelle‘s try-line. Put in a decent defensive shift in his final European match for the Chiefs but struggled to see much ball in attack. 5

13 Henry Slade: Much like Nowell, he struggled to impact the game offensively and a 50:22 attempt that went out on the full rather summed up his day. Did well to set up Olly Woodburn for his late score, though, but Slade was completely outplayed by his opposite number. 5

12 Sean O’Brien: Couldn’t get into the game, and three missed tackles won’t go down well with the departing centre. 4

11 Olly Woodburn: Deserved his try late in the match as he never stopped trying for the cause. 6

10 Joe Simmonds: Started the game well with ball in hand and backed his team with a kick to the corner, which paid off. That was as good as things got for Simmonds and the Chiefs though. 6

9 Will Becconsall: Some tough but valuable lessons for the youngster today in a game that was always going to be difficult for him. Let Gregory Alldritt slip from his grasp at the base of a scrum for the number eight’s try, which will no doubt stick in his mind. Replaced on 45 minutes. 4

8 Sam Simmonds: Scored a great try from five metres out early in the game as Exeter made a statement that rocked La Rochelle. Unlucky not to get a brace in the second half but for a stumble but another full-blooded outing from Simmonds, who will sign off from the Chiefs as something of a club legend. 7

7 Christ Tshiunza: Quiet game from the Wales international, who made zero metres with ball in hand. Did rack up 13 tackles but struggled to get into the contest. 4

6 Jacques Vermeulen: One of Exeter’s better forwards with a handful of decent carries, but they were far from as devastating as those playing opposite. 6

Concern for Scotland lock

5 Jonny Gray: It was a worrying sight seeing the Scotland international helped from the field on 30 minutes with what looked like a serious injury. Let’s hope he can recover in time for the Rugby World Cup. In his time on the field, Gray was his typical workmanlike self. 5

4 Jannes Kirsten: His team’s top tackler in an industrious effort. Backed that up with five carries but against La Rochelle’s hulking pack, they did not result in decent metres. 6

3 Marcus Street: Put in a decent defensive shift but struggled at the set-piece against the impressive La Rochelle pack, notably Reda Wardi. 4

2 Dan Frost: A willing carrier early on, but his yellow card for pulling down a maul on 30 minutes was hardly discreet. Replaced eight minutes into the second period. 5

1 Scott Sio: Was not seen or heard of in a disappointing afternoon at the coalface. Four carries, and three tackles around the field but not his usual busy self as Uini Atonio dominated their individual battle. 4

Replacements: The replacement front-row were obliterated by La Rochelle’s starters at scrum time, but Iosefa-Scott’s try and Stu Townsend and Stuart Hogg’s impact helps this score. 6

READ MORE: La Rochelle player ratings: Tawera Kerr-Barlow and UJ Seuteni star as defending champions rampage past Exeter Chiefs