Tom O’Flaherty scored a hat-trick in a dominant Exeter display
Exeter boss Rob Baxter was left enthused by his team’s performance after they brushed aside Champions Cup opponents Glasgow 52-17 at Sandy Park.
The Chiefs emphatically avenged their defeat in the Glasgow fog just before Christmas, finding overdrive after trailing by three points with 50 minutes gone.
Exeter, European champions in 2020, cut loose with four quickfire tries to demolish Glasgow’s victory hopes and secure a bonus-point success that brought the round of 16 within touching distance.
“You saw that emotional alignment in the team,” Baxter said. “We had a relatively basic game-plan around creating pressure, going to the corner and creating as many five-metre opportunities as we could. We wanted to keep going and build our game around it.
“We created defensive pressure, kick-chase pressure and set-piece pressure. That allows you to move up the field, and if we are up the field and our driving game is on, we are a tough side to stop repeatedly.”
Wing Tom O’Flaherty scored three tries, while there was a double for number eight Sam Simmonds before skipper Luke Cowan-Dickie Jack Nowell and Dave Ewers also scored. Fly-half Joe Simmonds kicked four conversions and centre Henry Slade two.
Baxter added: “You could just see the team flourishing on one another’s actions.
“The backs flourished on good ball from forwards; the forwards flourished on the defensive pressure put on by the backs.
“Our As and Bs and Cs stood up. We built our way up the pitch as we have done in really good years and that is probably the highlight for me – that DNA is still there.
“We’ve just got to let it out a bit more.”
Glasgow, who now face a crunch clash against La Rochelle in their final pool game next weekend, posted tries through lock Kiran McDonald and flanker Matt Fagerson, both converted by Ross Thompson.
But they had no answer to Exeter’s pace and power once the Chiefs clicked into gear.
Glasgow head coach Danny Wilson pulled no punches following his team’s second-half demise.
“It is going to take some looking at but basically we collapsed. We got ourselves back into the lead, then we shipped 38 poeng," han sa.
“I didn’t see it coming. With our recent form it was very disappointing. It was an unacceptable last 30 minutter.
“A few things went against us with a couple of injuries. We had to rejig things which left us a little bit exposed, but it is not an excuse for that much exposure.
“We gave them so many entries into our 22, which is the one thing you can’t do against this opposition. Errors, straffer, you name it. All aspects of our game fell apart in the last 30 minutter.
“There is a very despondent group, a little bit shell-shocked. We need to look at it and find out what happened and also we need to bounce back very quickly.
“We’ve got La Rochelle at home, which is another strong opposition, but if we can bounce back quickly, we can still get something from this competition.”