Simmonds siblings put Exeter within sight of Champions Cup last eight

Paris (AFP) –


Brothers Sam and Joe Simmonds scored 21 of Exeter's points as they took a step towards a place in the European Champions Cup quarter-finals on Sunday with an 35-10 home victory over Sale.

Number eight Sam, 25, crossed twice and fly-half Joe, 22, scored once and kicked three conversions in a game which was briefly suspended during the final quarter due to a hail storm at Sandy Park.

The victory moves the Chiefs 10 points clear of Glasgow at the top of Pool 2 ahead of the final couple of rounds of the campaign in January and ends the Sharks' hopes of last-eight spot.

Scotland's Stuart Hogg started for the hosts despite suffering a head injury last weekend but South Africa's Rugby World Cup winning scrum-half Faf de Klerk missed out for the visitors.

The Sharks took a 3-0 after 17 minutes as US fly-half AJ MacGinty slotted a penalty goal before the Chiefs responded with three tries by the hour mark.

Back-rower Sam scored four minutes later as Joe converted.

The outside-half crossed five minutes into the second half before his older brother doubled his tally for the game after 56 minutes.

Centre Sam James's converted try closed the deficit to 11 points on 61 minutes before a heavy hailstorm forced referee Pierre Brousset to send the players back into the changing rooms.

They returned to the field five minutes later and the Chiefs tied up the bonus point as prop Ben Moon and England winger Jack Nowell scored.

Later on Sunday, Clermont can also move within sight of a knockout spot with victory over winless Bath in Pool 3.

On Saturday, record four-time winners Leinster produced a stunning seven-try, 50-21 victory against Northampton to become the first team ever to qualify for the quarter-finals after just four rounds.