Exeter Chiefs have given themselves a chance of a first ever European quarter final with a hard-fought 17-6 win over Bourgoin.
The Sandy Park success has set up a winner-takes-all match with Montpellier at the Stade Yves du Manoir and was founded on two tries from Tom Johnson and Hoani Tui.
Tui’s effort came three minutes from time and finally killed off a threatening Bourgoin fightback. Alberto Di Bernardo landed two penalties for the visitors, but he also missed two other shots at goal, and Rob Baxter’s men head to France just two points behind the Top 14 high fliers Montpellier at the top of Pool 2.
Baxter had made eight changes from the team that lost at Kingsholm last weekend, but despite Tom Hayes leading from the front the Chiefs could not make the most of the strong wind at their backs in the opening stages.
It took a Ryan Davis penalty in the last play of the first half to break the deadlock, but when Johnson finished off a classy move two minutes after the resumption of play the Chiefs were two scores in front. Davis’s conversion put his team into double figures, but through Di Bernardo’s accurary Bourgoin pulled themselves to within just four points.
But the full back’s misses eased Sandy Park nerves and when Tui burrowed over for a try converted by Gareth Steenson the win was secured.