Exeter Chiefs secured a home tie in the round of 16 of the Heineken Champions Cup with a 40-3 victory over French side Castres at Sandy Park last night.

Those seeing that scoreline who were not at the game will think it was a walk in the park for Rob Baxter's men, but that could not be further from the truth.

There were aspects of the Chiefs' performance that were poor, including yet another high penalty count, and Castres played 45 minutes of the match at least one man short.

In fact, at one point at the end of the first half they were reduced to 12 players after losing the whole of their back row in the space of four minutes, with Feibyan Tukino red carded for a shoulder to the head, and skipper Mathieu Babillot and Baptiste Delaporte yellow carded by referee Andrew Brace.

But Chiefs did not really capitalise until the final six minutes, when they ran in three tries to give the final scoreline against a very much second-string Castres side a very flattering appearance.

Exeter's six tries included two penalty tries, with the rest coming from Sam Simmonds, Henry Slade, Christ Tshiunza and Jack Nowell, with Slade adding two conversions and Joe Simmonds the other.

Exeter's last 16 opponents will be decided later today when all of the pool matches have been completed, but they are guaranteed a second or third-place finish in Pool A, and it is looking likely that they could be up against Munster or Montpellier from Pool B.

With the match all pay, it could mean a timely £500,000 boost for the Chiefs.

Meanwhile, French newspaper L'Equipe is reporting that Exeter tight-head prop Harry Williams has joined his Chiefs' team-mates Sam Simmonds and Luke Cowan-Dickie in signing for Montpellier for next season.