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With a five-point advantage in the race for Heineken Champions Cup knockout places from Pool A, Exeter Chiefs may not need to win at the GGL Stadium on Sunday to book their slot in the last 16 – but history suggests that they will do.
The Gallagher Premiership club have won each of their three games against Montpellier Hérault Rugby in the competition, with their last two victories coming by more than 30 points.
The match, which starts at 6.30pm local time (5.30pm UK time), is available to watch on beIN SPORTS and BT Sport.
Other key facts:
- Montpellier suffered the heaviest defeat for a TOP 14 club in the Heineken Champions Cup during Round 3 against Leinster Rugby (7-89).
- The French side also lost their last home game in the competition (14-35 v Leinster in 2020/21) but have not lost consecutive home games since the 2014/15 campaign.
- Exeter have won three of their last six away games in the Heineken Champions Cup, after winning only four of their first 17 matches on the road in the competition. Three of their last five away wins in the competition have come in France.
- Montpellier have averaged just 4.9 metres per carry in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, fewer than any other team, and have made only one line break in two games this season, also the lowest tally.
- Exeter No.8 Sam Simmonds has scored a try in each of his three games in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, including a brace in the last round. His tally of four tries is the most of any player in the competition this season.
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Montpellier Hérault Rugby triumphed 37-26 over Exeter Chiefs on Sunday to secure the last available Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 place.
Montpellier came into the game at GGL Stadium knowing that a solitary point would be enough for them to overhaul Glasgow Warriors in Pool A and secure their progression with a top-eight finish.
Exeter were on top for spells and No.8 Sam Simmonds scored a sensational hat-trick, but the 2020 champions were forced to settle for a sixth-place finish in the pool after being outfought by Montpellier.
Chiefs got off to a strong start as Simmonds went over for a trademark score, peeling off a maul and finishing from just over 10 metres out.
GABRIEL N'GANDEBE WHAT A RUN!! ⚡
An unbelievable run from the @MHR_officiel man, a great take from Jack Maunder's box kick but it's all about the agility from N'Gandebe, setting up an easy try for Anthony Bouthier 👏
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) January 23, 2022
But Montpellier were fired up for their fate-deciding game, and the TOP 14 side notched their first try when a breathtaking surge from Gabriel N’gandebe saw the winger break clear before teeing up full-back Anthony Bouthier.
Lock Paul Willemse then went over following a powerful Montpellier maul on 24 minutes, and their onslaught continued when centre Jan Serfontein crossed in the corner moments later and fly-half Louis Foursans, who tallied 12 points on the evening, nudged a penalty.
Exeter steadied themselves after the third score and enjoyed a prosperous final 10 minutes of the first half as Simmonds battered his way over again and centre Sean O’Brien picked off a stray pass to run clear and dot down.
Chiefs full-back Stuart Hogg saw a try chalked off by the TMO on the stroke of half time, but they would get their fourth and reclaim the lead four minutes into the second period through Simmonds’ hat-trick effort.
Exeter hammered away at the Montpellier defence for over 20 phases before Simmonds once again proved a difficult man to stop as he bounced through the tackles and over the line.
However, another Foursans penalty put Montpellier back in front on 67 minutes, and the crucial moment for them came a few minutes later when replacement Cobus Reinach intercepted and ran the length of pitch to score the bonus point try.
Monptellier were able to see out the final minutes with qualification wrapped up, Paolo Garbisi’s late penalty adding further gloss to an excellent performance.