Match Centre: Exeter Chiefs 22-31 Leinster

Jordan Larmour scored two tries for Leinster
Jordan Larmour scored two tries for Leinster
©Steve Haag

Exeter Chiefs 22-31 Leinster, Sandy Park

Defending champions Exeter Chiefs' hope of retaining the Heineken Champions Cup title comes to an end following a 22-31 defeat to Leinster in the quarter-final at Sandy Park.

Rob Baxter's men had a terrific start to the game as they scored back to back tries from Tom O'Flaherty in the opening six minutes. First he went past the tackle of Hugo Keenan to score the opening try in the third minute and in the sixth minute he ran clear to dot down for the second time in the game.

Joe Simmonds kicked both the conversions as Exeter raced to a 14-0 lead.

Leinster clawed their way back in the game when Keenan made a stunning offload to set up James Lowe over the line in the 17th minute and Johnny Sexton, who kicked the conversion was replaced by Ross Byrne in the 28th minute after the Ireland captain was set to undergo a Head Injury Assessment.

The Irish side went on to level the scores around the half-hour mark when Byrne's kick found Jordan Larmour, who dived in the corner. Byrne, who kicked the conversion also followed it with back to back penalties as the opening half ended with a 14-20 scoreline.

Exeter narrowed down the gap early in the second half when Dave Ewers touched down at the back of a driving maul. Simmonds missed the conversion but slotted a penalty goal making 22-20.

The Irish side seized the lead in the 52nd minute with another three-pointer from Byrne and six minutes later Larmour went on to beat Stuart Hogg and also brushed away a tackle from Sam Simmonds to score his second. As Jannes Kirsten was penalised for a high tackle, Leinster had a chance to extend their lead through Byrne's penalty goal in the 66th minute.

With the clock ticking, Exeter was punished once again with Byrne kicking his fifth penalty to complete a 22-34 win as Leinster progressed to the semi-final.

Team line up:

Exeter: Hogg; Woodburn, Slade, Devoto, O'Flaherty, J Simmonds, Maunder; Moon, Cowan-Dickie, Francis, Gray, Hill, Ewers, Vermeulen, S Simmonds.

Leinster: Keenan; Larmour, O'Loughlin, Henshaw, Lowe; Sexton, McGrath; Healy, Kelleher, Furlong, Fardy, Toner, Ruddock, Van der Flier, Conan


European Rugby Champions Cup Points Table