2020 Heineken Champions Cup winners Exeter Chiefs are the second Pool A team to be analysed today as we continue to look forward to the new European campaign.

European Cup record

Last year was the Chiefs’ crowning glory as they became European champions for the first time at only the seventh attempt, having made their debut in the continent’s elite competition in the 2012/13 season. Previously, they had reached the knockout stage only once – in 2016, when they lost in the quarter-finals.

Last season

They bowed out in the quarter-finals, losing 34-22 at home to Leinster Rugby, after routing Lyon 47-25 at Sandy Park in the Round of 16.

Director of rugby

Rob Baxter has been in charge of Exeter since 2009, first as head coach and then as director of rugby, and so has been principally responsible for guiding the club from the English Championship to the pinnacle of European rugby. Along the way, he has also steered the Chiefs to two Premiership crowns – in 2017 and 2020. For that European-domestic double in 2020, he was awarded an OBE in the 2021 Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

Key players

Exeter’s recent successes have seen many of their players called up by England, including hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie, lock Jonny Hill, No.8 Sam Simmonds, centre Henry Slade and wing Jack Nowell. They have also attracted the likes of Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg and lock Jonny Gray to Sandy Park.

Pool fixtures

The Chiefs entertain Montpellier Hérault Rugby first up, then travel to Glasgow Warriors, whom they hammered 42-0 at Sandy Park last season. The reverse fixtures follow.