A dominant display from the league leaders gave Exeter Chiefs a resounding 57-20 win over Bath Rugby at Sandy Park on Saturday.
A motivated Exeter Chiefs side made for a tough afternoon for Bath Rugby in Round 13 of the Gallagher Premiership.
An early try from the home side saw a dominant scrum force Bath back to within just metres from their own line. Exeter scrum-half Nick White wasted no time in distributing the ball from the base, sending a miss pass to Tom O’Flaherty who found space on the wing to dive over the line. [5-0]
Bath responded immediately through the boot of Rhys Priestland. Exeter’s forward Harry Williams was penalised at the ruck as Bath looked to put pressure on the hosts and Priestland made no mistake from the tee to give Bath their first points of the game. [5-3]
Despite showing some attacking promise through the backs, Bath’s endeavours were short-lived. Chiefs were able to pile on the pressure. A soft penalty gave Joe Simmonds the chance to pin Bath back into their own half. It wasn't long until Tom Hendrickson found space and a simple two on one put Olly Woodburn through to go over against his old side. Simmons adds the extras to put the Chiefs further ahead. [12-3]
Exeter continued to cause problems for Bath, Francois Louw was penalised at the ruck which gave Joe Simmonds an easy three points, before his brother Sam Simmons, went over the whitewash after braking away from a textbook driving maul, that was destined for the try-line.
Bath were dealt a further blow just moments later, Josh McNally receiving 10 minutes in the bin for a high tackle. Despite being a man down, Bath showed some valiant defence. Exeter managed to make the extra man count as they went from side to side, before employing their famously successful pick and go strategy and forward Jannes Kirsten drove his way over the Bath line.
With a mountain to climb, the visitors started to exert some pressure themselves. As the sun came out from behind the clouds, Bath were awarded a penalty and put it deep into Exeter’s corner, with 3minutes left in the half. Bath went through the phases, Mercer, Louw and Stooke all leading the charge, and despite coming close, it was the home side that once again come out on top and finished the half with a comfortable lead. [29-3]
Half-time – Exeter Chiefs 29-3 Bath Rugby
The second-half continued in the same fashion as the first, Exeter looked to have lost no firepower during the break, with just minutes gone, Sam Simmonds broke through the line and crashed over to give his side another try and secure his brace. [36-3]
Bath once again fought back and after a relentless phase in the Exeter 22. The visitors were finally rewarded when Zach Mercer took the penalty quickly with a tap and go to score from close-range. [36-8]
Just minutes after, O’Flaherty gathered the restart well and Bath were penalised for offside. The hosts did exactly what they are famous for, a pick and go from Elvis Taione allowed the hooker to power his way over. [43-8]
Bath once again got themselves on the scoreboard, this time centre Max Wright crashed over under the posts after picking his line well, which put him through the gap after some good work from Will Chudley. Burns added the extras. [43-15]
Freddie Burns and Tom de Glanville gave Bath some intensity shortly after coming onto the field.
Some scrappy play almost saw Elliot Stooke breakthrough, however after a number of changes in possession, Ruairdh McConnochie scooped up a bouncing ball and sprinted away to the try line, evading tap tackles from the hosts. [43-20]
Not satisfied with the scoreboard, Exeter were keen to have the last say. Jack Nowell came off the bench to add some electricity to the Chiefs attack, finding space on the wing, before bumping off defenders and being brought down just meters from the line. The wing was not finished, after some good footwork the England international was able to offload to Olly Woodburn who dived theatrically over the line to bring it to the round score to half a century. [50-20]
Exeter centre Hendrickson, who had been causing problems for Bath all afternoon, cut through the midfield to find a gap before shifting the ball to the replacement Jack Maunder, who went over despite an attempt from Freddie Burns.
Full-time – Exeter Chiefs 57-20 Bath Rugby
Bath Rugby now have a break week from the Gallagher Premiership, where the side will review and work on the last block of four games before facing London Irish on Saturday 21st March at the Rec.
7 March 2020
Referee: Luke Pearce
Half Time score: 29-3
- Tries: O'Flaherty (5), Woodburn (13, 70), Simmonds (28, 40), Kirsten (33), Taione (50), Maunder (75)
- Conversions: Simmonds (13, 30, 34, 41, 51), Steenson (71, 76)
- Penalties: Simmonds (18)
- Tries: Mercer (46), Wright (54), McConnochie (63)
- Conversions: Burns (54)
- Penalties: Priestland (9)