STUART HOGG claimed the bragging rights over his old Glasgow Warriors team-mates at Sandy Park in Devon yesterday, as his new club bounced back from a narrow half-time deficit with a dominant third-quarter performance which secured a bonus point victory and confirmed Exeter Chiefs as the team most likely to progress to the quarter-finals of this Champions Cup campaign as winners of Pool 2.

The Warriors are going to have to do it the hard way if they are to send departing head coach Dave Rennie off to his new job in Australia with another last-eight appearance in European club rugby’s flagship competition. Last season they scraped into the last eight by the skin of their teeth as one of the best pool stage runners-up on 19 points, and with four points and 20 points still up for grabs their destiny is still in their own hands – but there is not much room for any more slip-ups.

A disappointed Rennie said: “We made a couple of errors, we had trouble exiting [and] lost the kicking battle. I thought they kicked really well, trapped us down there and got rewarded for it.

“We need to be better as we put pressure on ourselves by over-playing. We looked dangerous at times but we made errors in the third quarter. It’s something we need to be better in because we battled second half last week in the same situation.”

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter was very happy with the result.

“I’m delighted as we are growing in stature and didn’t get panicky when we trailed 13-10 at half time. We showed some real composure after we gave ourselves a little bit of a hill to climb as we had a fight on our hands at half time.

“Many of our leading players stood up, which is what you need in Europe. Stuart Hogg played a big part after he was a bit over-enthusiastic, which one would expect playing against his former club. He has a strong kicking game and will be an exceptional player for us.”

Warriors started well and opened the scoring with an excellent try on eight minutes when Tommy Seymour hit the line hard in midfield and bounced Tom O’Flaherty, before sending Nick Grigg under the posts.

If that rattled the Chiefs, they didn’t let it show, and a Joe Simmonds penalty after a collapsed scrum was soon followed by a try from second-row Jonny Hill, who rumbled over after a series of punishing close-range assaults from the mighty home pack.

Warriors picked up a couple of satisfying scrum penalties during the remainder of the first half with Chiefs loose-head Alec Hepburn the culprit, allowing Adam Hastings to kick six more points – to go with his earlier conversion – which established a 13-10 lead for the visitors at the turnaround.

The Warriors shot themselves in the foot at the start of the second half when they tried to run it from deep and ended up coughing up possession, which allowed Henry Slade to streak home after Jack Nowell had danced with indecent ease past a flailing Grigg.

That set the tone for the next 20 minutes, and the Warriors’ situation wasn’t helped by the loss of winger DTH van der Merwe to injury. With opposite wing Ratu Tagive already having been replaced by Kyle Steyn, a reshuffle of the back line was required which saw Peter Horne coming on at stand-off, Hastings switching to full-back and Seymour taking to the wing.

Exeter moved further ahead when their forward power splintered the Warriors maul defence and Sam Simmonds blasted home for his team’s third try, and the bonus point was wrapped up just shy of the hour mark when O’Flaherty chased down Slade’s excellently weighted grubber-kick into the corner.

Joe Simmonds kicked a straightforward penalty following Kiran McDonald’s yellow-carding – just a few minutes after replacing captain Ryan Wilson – for a deliberate obstruction, before Warriors rallied briefly as the game moved into the final 10 minutes.

Sam Simmonds was sent to the bin for killing the ball, and with just two minutes left Seymour went close on the right before play was transferred across the park for replacement hooker George Turner to go over unchallenged on the left. Warriors’ outside chance of salvaging a losing bonus point evaporated when Hastings’ conversion hit the post.

Scorers, Exeter Chiefs - Tries: Hill, Slade, Simmonds, O’Flaherty. Cons: J Simmonds 4. Pen: J Simmonds 2.

Glasgow Warriors - Tries: Grigg, Turner. Con: Hastings Pens: Hastings 2.

Exeter Chiefs: S Hogg (S Hill 61); J Nowell, H Slade (G Steenson 68), I Whitten, T O’Flaherty; J Simmonds, N White (J Maunder 688); A Hepburn (B Moon 47), J Yeandle (L Cowan-Dickie 38), H Williams (M Street 64), D Dennis (J Kirsten 62), J Hill, D Ewers, J Vermeulen (D Armand 64), S Simmonds.

Glasgow Warriors: T Seymour; R Tagive (K Steyn 30), N Grigg, S Johnson, D van der Merwe (P Horne 51); A Hastings, G Horne (A Price 57); O Kebble (A Allan 62), F Brown (G Turner 57), Z Fagerson (D Rae 65), R Harley, S Cummings, R Wilson (K McDonald 65), C Fusaro (T Gordon 62), M Fagerson.

Referee: Pascal Gauzere