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Italian job puts Chiefs on verge of Challenge Cup quarter finals

14 Jan 2012
Italian job puts Chiefs on verge of Challenge Cup quarter finals

Exeter are one game away from a first appearance in a European quarter-final after beating Cavalieri Prato 50-10 in Amlin Challenge Cup Pool Four.

Kevin Barrett, Mark Foster, Aly Muldowney, Pat Phibbs and Ignacio Mieres all crossed in the seven-try rout at Stadio Lungobisenzio.

But the victory, that paved the way for a winner-takes-all clash against Perpignan at Sandy Park next Saturday, was marred by injuries to Joseph Tatupu and Jack Nowell.

Rob Baxter had made 12 changes from the team which had left Newcastle with the Aviva Premiership Rugby points last weekend, but it did not take long for the re-shaped Chiefs to hit their stride. Skipper Gareth Steenson opened the scoring with a 12th-minute penalty, but the floodgates opened when the visitors' scrum earned a penalty try.

Barrett and Foster were next on the scoresheet either side of the break, before a second penalty try earned the bonus point. To their credit Prato continued to battle, and hit back through flanker Nicola Belardo. 

But it proved to be a rare moment of light for the Italians as Exeter went through the phases to record three more tries through Phibbs and Muldowney – both their first for the Chiefs – with Mieres completing a rout which sets up a mouthwatering clash with Perpignan at Sandy Park in Round 6.

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