Bath Rugby were beaten 35-6 in a second-half blitz against a strong Exeter Chiefs side in the Gallagher Premiership semi-final at Sandy Park.
It’s all over for the 2019-20 Gallagher Premiership season. We can be proud of our efforts throughout this campaign and especially since the restart, but it was not meant to be. We must start by congratulating Rob Baxter and his Exeter Chiefs side for today’s victory and everybody at Bath Rugby wishes them good luck for the final against Wasps.
A tough day at Sandy Park against Exeter Chiefs ends an impressive first season for Bath under Director of Rugby Stuart Hooper. A final score of 35-6 is bitterly disappointing, although there were large periods of the contest where Bath were in great positions but failed to convert against a strong Chiefs defence. It remained scoreless until the 17th minute, with the Blue, Black and White starting well and Ruaridh McConnochie even thought he had scored in the corner in the 10th (which was later ruled out by TMO).
The first try of the match was scored in the 17th minute with Jonny Hill crashing over from close range for Chiefs following five minutes of continued pressure inside the Bath 22. Simmonds adds the extras, to lead Bath by 7-0. Bath responded with two converted penalties by number 10 Rhys Priestland, to take us within a point in the 26th minute.
Rob Baxter’s men then responded almost immediately with Luke Cowan Dickie crossing the line for Exeter right under the sticks, with Simmonds converting the extra points. Following a great spell of possession for Bath, Jonny Hill was given a yellow card for a horrific and dangerous 'clear-out' at the ruck. The lads failed to make the most of the man advantage, with the score remaining 14-6 until the half-time whistle.
Both teams came out knowing the next score in this contest would be crucial and it fell to Stuart Hogg, scoring the Chief’s third try in the 50th minute. Bath knew they had to respond with a try of their own and came close a couple of times with some great work from Ruaridh McConnochie and Cameron Redpath. However, it was Exeter again who punished Bath in the 60th and 69th minute with tries from Jonny Hill and Ollie Devoto - putting the game to bed and Exeter through to the Gallagher Premiership Final.
We leave Sandy Park this evening immensely proud of this team and their performances and resilience throughout this unique season. There have been some hugely impressive performances and a togetherness from this squad, that should fill all fans with pride and excitement for what is to come. Not long until the start of the 2020-21 Gallagher Premiership and we can’t wait to get going again!
A key moment came in the 34th minute when Luke Pearce showed Jonny Hill a yellow card for a shoulder charge on Taulupe Faletau. Another key moment came in the 50th minute when Stuart Hogg dotted down for what seemed to be the decisive score in Bath's attempted comeback.
Tries: Jonny Hill (17', 62'), Luke Cowan-Dickie (29'), Stuart Hogg (50'), Ollie Devoto (69')
Conversions: Joe Simmonds (18', 30', 51', 63', 70')
Penalties: Rhys Priestland (22', 26')