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Michele Campagnaro scores hat-trick as Exeter hammer Wasps

Exeter kept their hopes of progressing to the Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-finals firmly alive with an eight-try thrashing of Wasps at Sandy Park.

Italy international Michele Campagnaro scored a hat-trick for Exeter and there was a try apiece for Sam Simmonds, Mitch Lees, Shaun Malton, Lachie Turner and Stuart Townsend. Joe Simmonds converted six of the tries.

Wasps' sole response was a try from Will Rowlands and the defeat - coupled with Harlequins' victory at Worcester - put them out of the competition.

In a fiercely competitive Pool Two, Exeter and Ospreys are joint top with Sale just a point behind so three teams go into next week's final fixtures with a chance of qualifying.

Exeter looked to have chosen a stronger and more experienced line-up on paper, and they soon proved this by taking a third-minute lead.

A succession of possession recycles gave Turner an easy opportunity to send Campagnaro in at the corner.

Three minutes later, Wasps were also on the scoreboard when Brendan Macken and Koree Britton combined cleverly to create a try for Rowlands, but Chiefs responded when Lees forced his way over from close range.

The frenetic opening continued when a telegraphed pass was intercepted by Campagnaro, who raced 50 metres to score his second with Joe Simmonds again converting to give Exeter a 21-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Exeter scored the best try of the game on 27 minutes to collect their bonus point when number eight Sam Simmonds burst away on a brilliant 45-metre run which saw him round Wasps fly-half Jacob Umaga and sidestep the visitors' full-back before touching down.

Wasps conceded a fifth before half-time when Townsend nipped over, with the conversion attempt from Simmonds hitting a post so the visitors trailed 33-5 at the interval.

Four minutes after the restart, the hosts were over again when Malton forced his way over after Campagnaro had split the defence with a 40-metre run.

The visitors suffered a further setback when Umaga left the field with an injury before Campagnaro completed his hat-trick when a well-judged pass from Joe Simmonds sent him racing away down the right flank.

The raft of substitutions caused the game to become disjointed in the final quarter but strong runs from Alex Reider and Warren Seals illustrated that Wasps still had some spirit. They pressurised the Chiefs' line but lacked the guile to gain any reward, with Turner's last-minute try taking Exeter past 50.


From Belfast Telegraph