Exeter Chiefs ran in ten tries to claim their first victory in the Anglo-Welsh Cup this season with a 62-25 victory over the Cardiff Blues.
James Sheekey crossed for the Welsh region early on but that proved to be something of a false dawn as Shaun Malton, a penalty try, Michele Campagnaro, Damian Welch and Sam Simmonds all went over in the first half at Sandy Park.
Rob Baxter’s side led 31-10 at the interval and in the second period continued to pile on the points as Tom Hendrickson, Stuart Townsend, Tom Johnson, Jack Innard and Tom Lawday all went over.
The Blues got a four-try bonus point of their own however thanks to James Beale and Rhun Williams’ double but the Chiefs were too strong.
Exeter’s Anglo-Welsh campaign began with a 29-15 defeat at Harlequins on the previous weekend and it was the Blues who came roaring out of the blocks.
Jarrod Evans had already slotted a penalty when Sheekey cut a hard line off the fly-half to crash over under the posts for the first try of the game.
But that was really as good as it got for the Blues in an increasingly one-sided first half.
The first response was a try for Malton, the hooker going over after a driving maul had established deep in Blues territory.
The driving maul was a real weapon throughout the encounter and the Chiefs pack earned a penalty try inside the first quarter of an hour to move them further ahead.
Then Campagnaro went over after a fine pick up off his toes to complete an end to end move that included a Blues clearing kick that was charged down.
Rob Baxter’s side were really starting to purr now, and Welch was next to go over after collecting Will Chudley’s clever chip over the top for their bonus point try.
And there was still time to grab a fifth before the interval, Sam Simmonds going over in the right corner after a fine team move.
At the break the hosts were 31-10 to the good and the victory was secured but Tom Hendrickson carried on where they left off in the second half by going over after Campagnaro’s offload.
James Beale pulled one back for the Blues but still the Chiefs kept coming and man of the match Joe Simmonds – who pulled the strings all afternoon – set up Stuart Townsend for their sixth try.
Simmonds again added the extras and at 45-15 it was starting to get ugly for the Cardiff Blues.
But the Welsh region provided a fine riposte when Rhun Williams went over twice, both times benefitting from clever kicks that the Chiefs defence failed to deal with.
But no sooner had the Blues started to trim the lead than the Chiefs came roaring back, Johnson the next to go over before both Jack Innard and Tom Lawday went over at the back of rolling mauls in the final quarter to seal an emphatic victory.
The second round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup kicks off this weekend. For full details of the tournament and tickets for the Final at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday 19 March see www.new-heroes.com