Exeter hold off Racing 92 to win European Champions Cup final
Ten years after climbing out of the Championship Exeter Chiefs were crowned kings of Europe 90 miles from home in Bristol on Saturday when they beat Racing 92 31-27 in a superb Champions Cup final full of tries and amazing defensive intensity.
Playing in the showpiece final for the first time, Exeter led 21-12 at the break after pushover tries for forwards Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Simmonds and Harry Williams, with Simon Zebo and Juan Imhoff keeping the French side in touch.
Zebo and Camile Chat crossed either side of a try from an interception by Exeter’s Henry Slade and a Maxime Machenaud penalty then dragged Racing, beaten finalists in 2016 and 2018, to within a point with 15 minutes remaining.
Exeter, down to 14 for the last nine minutes, produced a magnificent goalline defence as Racing hammered at their line and earned a last minute penalty that Joe Simmonds slotted to secure the title — albeit after some confusion over whether the match had reached full time.
Exeter have the chance to complete a memorable double when they face Wasps in the English Premiership final next week.
The win follows Bristol’s victory over Toulon in the Challenge Cup final on Friday.