Cowan-Dickie scores late try to give Ex­eter first win in France

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - CHAMPIONS CUP - At Stade Cha­ban-Del­mas His­tory re­peated Late kick set­tles heavy­weight clash

The Ex­eter Chiefs head coach, Rob Bax­ter, ad­mit­ted to “mixed emo­tions” af­ter his side won a Cham­pi­ons Cup match in France for the first time to keep alive their slim hopes of reach­ing the quar­ter-fi­nals.

It was Ex­eter’s first vic­tory in Europe this sea­son and avenged their 13-7 A last-minute penalty has de­cided a crunch Euro­pean Cup tie in­volv­ing Mun­ster at Welford Road be­fore – but that time the Ir­ish prov­ince tri­umphed as Ro­nan O’Gara’s ef­fort (right) sealed a thrilling 21-19 vic­tory over Le­ices­ter in Oc­to­ber 2006. de­feat by the French side at Sandy Park last week­end, but it was not a to­tally con­vinc­ing dis­play in a feisty game.

Bordeaux played for 31 min­utes with only 14 play­ers af­ter a red card for winger Nans Du­cu­ing for up­end­ing Ex­eter winger Olly Wood­burn in a tackle close to half­way.

Ir­ish ref­eree John Lacey was spot on with his de­ci­sion, as Wood­burn landed on his neck/head area, but it an­gered the home crowd, whose side led 9-7 at the time of the in­ci­dent.

Ex­eter had their own discipline prob­lems, with a yel­low card in each half for Mitch Lees and Greg Holmes, but Eng­land’s Henry Slade, play­ing at fly-half in the ab­sence of the rested Gareth Steen­son, kept cool in the red-hot at­mos­phere with 10 points from his boot.

Chiefs hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie also showed Eng­land coach Ed­die Jones that he is ready to step up to re­place the sus­pended Dy­lan Hart­ley if needed with a bat­tling per­for­mance on his re­turn from a two-month in­jury lay-off, crown­ing his dis­play with a cru­cial try 10 min­utes from time.

“It is a nice lit­tle step for­ward for us, to win away in France in a top-flight com­pe­ti­tion for the first time, and Bordeaux have got a fan­tas­tic record at home, so in that re­gard we have done very well,” said Bax­ter.

“I am a lit­tle frus­trated though be­cause we could have been a bit bet­ter. We put a lot of ball on the floor, lost a fair bit of ball in con­tact and got a lit­tle bit ill-dis­ci­plined when we should have taken charge af­ter the red card.

“I said to the play­ers be­fore the game: cher­ish the 80 min­utes, take the op­por­tu­nity to build a mem­ory, and when you look at some of the fight­ing spirit we showed, that is what is re­ally pleas­ing and money can’t buy as a coach.”

Bax­ter was happy with the con­tri­bu­tions of Slade and Cowan-Dickie, and said: “It is great credit to Luke to how hard he has worked and the con­di­tion­ers and the phys­ios, and the pleas­ing thing is he’ll get bet­ter week by week.

“Henry kicked very well. I think some of his pass­ing got a bit way­ward at times, but a bit like the team as a whole, the im­por­tant qual­i­ties were there, and that’s what is most pleas­ing.” It was Slade who kicked a late penalty to deny the hosts even a los­ing bonus point and dent their own hopes of reach­ing the last eight.

Sleight of hand: Henry Slade shows fine tech­nique to off­load out of a tackle

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