Slade kicks winner as Exeter Stage Toulon comeback

Slade kicks winner as Exeter Stage Toulon comeback

In an extraordinary Investec Champions Cup Round 1 match, Exeter Chiefs centre Henry Slade kicked a winning conversion with the clock in the red to give his side a famous 19-18 win.

RC Toulon flanker Charles Ollivon was named Man of the Match with five minutes left to play as the TOP14 side looked set to hold on against a hard-working Exeter Chiefs, but a late try from flanker Jacques Vermeulen put Exeter Chiefs within one, before Slade kicked the winning extras to stun the Stade Felix Mayol. 

The opening 15 minutes were typified by big hits and long kicks before suddenly the match erupted – and it never calmed down. 

Exeter Chiefs' Harvey Skinner lunged on a poor pass during an RC Toulon break, racing away near the length of the pitch for an unconverted try. 

Then it was RC Toulon’s turn to score, as their pack pushed hard from a lineout. It was prop Beka Gigashvili who emerged triumphant to give the game parity, before fly-half Enzo Herve gave the hosts the lead with the extras from out wide. 

Now RC Toulon had found their rhythm. Despite Exeter Chiefs’ best efforts, White was on hand to pluck the ball from the ground and get over following a break away move, but this time Herve missed the conversion. 

Then, Exeter Chiefs were handed a golden chance when RC Toulon lock Brian Alainu'uese was sent to the sin bin with ten left in the half, but it was the home side who picked up the pace. Herve added six to the score board from two well-earned penalties, and sent RC Toulon in 18-5 to the good. 

The second half started as the first had ended, with RC Toulon in the ascendency. Exeter Chiefs struggled to get hands on the ball as RC Toulon maintain dominance, but in testament to the effort of Exeter Chiefs the TOP14 side struggled to score. 

Then Exeter Chiefs struck, almost totally out of the blue. They camped out on the RC Toulon line from the 60th minute, and eventually replacement Max Norey found a way to break through with centre Henry Slade adding the extras to bring Exeter Chiefs within six. 

Norey’s score unleashed chaos on the match, with both sides giving as good as they got as they smashed each other in the middle of the pitch. Eventually it was Exeter Chiefs who emerged on top, with Vermeulen putting his side on the brink and setting the stage for Slade to win it. 

Exeter Chiefs will now face Munster Rugby at home, while RC Toulon will take on Northampton Saints. 

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