SA’s Jacques Vermeulen, Jannes Kirsten win Champions Cup with Exeter

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Exeter Chiefs’ flanker Jacques Vermeulen in action during a European Rugby Champions Cup match. (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK / AFP)

South African rugby players Jacques Vermeulen and Jannes Kirsten and Zimbabwe-born Dave Ewers all capped off a remarkable European season after their club, Exeter Chiefs, won the Heineken Champions Cup.

Vermeulen and Ewers started the final, while Kirsten was named on the bench, as Chiefs defeated French side Racing 92 31-27 at Ashton Gate in Bristol, England, to win the tournament for the first time.

Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Simmonds, Harry Williams and Henry Slade dotted down for the English side and captain Joe Simmonds kicked four conversions and one penalty. Simon Zebo (2), Juan Imhoff and Camille Chat scored the French side’s tries and Finn Russel and Maxime Machenaud kicked seven points between them.

Exeter’s victory came 10 years after they gained promotion to the Premiership from the RFU Championship, the second tier of English rugby, in the same city.

The Champions Cup win continues what is a good year for the trio who also committed their futures to the club after signing contract extensions in July.

They were three of 30 senior players who agreed to remain with the 2016/17 Premiership champions for undisclosed periods of time with the extensions ranging from one year to four years.

The trio will seek to cap off a fine season next weekend by securing the Premiership title next weekend when they meet Wasps.

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