Made up of fringe players and a few experienced campaigners such as flyhalf captain Morné Steyn and hooker Bismarck du Plessis, the visitors couldn’t stand up to the overwhelming power of the home team, who boasted a host of current international stars.

The Gallagher Premiership outfit dominated territory and possession, steamrolled Jake White’s troops at scrum time and punished them with their driving maul. In addition, the Vodacom Bulls conceded a consistent stream of penalties, especially in the first half, and missed far too many tackles to challenge the Chiefs. 

They had their moments on attack yet squandered a simple opportunity in the second half and fell short of their secondary goal of coming away with a four-try bonus point, managing just one in each half through Stravino Jacobs and Chris Smit.

Exeter flyhalf Joe Simmonds opened the scoring with a fourth-minute penalty goal after Scott Sio sank Jacques van Rooyen in the first scrum.

However, the Vodacom Bulls grabbed the opening try moments later, a brilliant hot-stepping break by Wandisile Simelane taking them into the 22, where Steyn put Jacobs through a massive gap and added the conversion.

Exeter hit straight back with a converted try by Dave Ewers and had their second in the 15th minute, captain Luke Cowan-Dickie dotting down from the back of a driving maul to make it 15-7.

Things were looking ominous for the men in light blue as the Chiefs set up camp in their 22 but they weathered the storm and looked set to respond twice only to be held up on both occasions, first Du Plessis and then Reinhardt Ludwig.

It was all Exeter from there as Cowan-Dickie scored a carbon copy of his earlier try and Henry Slade sewed up the bonus point as passes started to stick for the hosts. They closed out a dominant half with a second penalty goal by Simmonds to take a commanding 32-7 lead into the break.

Exeter added two second-half tries to their tally, Cowan-Dickie completing his hat-trick four minutes into the frame and Solomone Kata scoring try number six. They finished the game with 14 men with Ewers issued a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Cameron Hanekom in the 77th minute.

The solitary highlight of the second half for the Vodacom Bulls saw Smith run onto a perfectly-weighted chip by Steyn to score.


Exeter Chiefs 44 (32) – Tries: Dave Ewers, Luke Cowan-Dickie (3), Henry Slade, Solomone Kata. Conversions: Joe Simmonds (4). Penalty goals: Simmonds (2).

Vodacom Bulls 14 (7) – Tries: Stravino Jacobs, Chris Smit. Conversions: Morné Steyn (2).