Exeter make most of Nans Ducuing red card to get first Champions Cup win of term
Exeter secured their first Champions Cup win of the season as they made the most of Nans Ducuing's red card to seal a 20-12 victory over Bordeaux-Begles .
Ducuing was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Olly Woodburn in the 49th minute, his dismissal allowing the Chiefs to edge a tight encounter.
Thomas Waldrom had crossed for the English side in the first period, but even when Ducuing saw red there was little between the teams.
In the end, Luke Cowan-Dickie's second-half try was the crucial moment, and Henry Slade added 10 points with his left boot.
Last Sunday's encounter between the two sides at Sandy Park had seen a tight first half and the rematch in France followed suit.
With both sets of forwards dominating a physical battle, chances were at a minimum.
Lionel Beauxis should have done better with a drop-goal attempt and Slade came close to collecting a chip through to score, but the first quarter ended scoreless.
Both defences were on top, but Beauxis broke the deadlock in the 24th minute with a penalty.
Then, just five minutes later, a flowing Bordeaux move ended with Exeter lock Mitch Lees seeing yellow for infringing at the ruck.
Beauxis made it 6-0 from the resulting penalty but down to 14, Exeter suddenly found a second gear.
Rob Baxter's men promptly went up the other end, a half-break from Slade putting Exeter on the front foot.
When the ball was recycled, the powerful Waldrom smashed his way over for the first try of the day. Slade converted to put the visitors ahead, an advantage they held on to when half-time arrived.
Back to a full complement for the start of the second period, Exeter nonetheless slipped behind again as Beauxis nailed his third penalty soon after the interval.
Then, the game changed.
Ducuing went up for a high ball with Woodburn, the Exeter wing landing in worrying fashion as his neck took the brunt of the fall.
Both players only had eyes for the ball but after sending the incident to the TMO, referee John Lacey deemed Ducuing's tackle dangerous and showed him a red card.
Faced with playing the last half-hour with 14, Bordeaux were up against it and Slade's penalty quickly put Exeter back into a one-point lead.
But that failed to stop the home side's aspirations, a tense match entering the final 20 minutes with little between the sides.
In the 62nd minute the game became 14 against 14 as Exeter's Greg Holmes was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle in a maul.
It was plain stupidity from Holmes, allowing Bordeaux to hit back. Replacement Baptiste Serin quickly kicked a penalty, but the see-saw action continued.
Cowan-Dickie then responded as he crashed over from close range for what proved to be the decisive score.
Slade converted and sealed the win with a late penalty, but Exeter still face a tough ask to qualify from Pool Five.