Bristol outplay champions Exeter to go top of table
PREMIERSHIP SATURDAY WRAP: Bristol Bears delivered an outstanding performance on both sides of the ball to beat Exeter Chiefs 20-7 at Sandy Park for the second season running and soar to the top of the Premiership.
Tries in either half from Harry Randall and Semi Radradra cut through an ice-cold afternoon in Devon and cancelled out Jonny Hill’s 35th-minute effort, while Callum Sheedy was faultless from the tee with three conversions and a penalty.
It’s a fifth successive Premiership win for Pat Lam’s side, who now find themselves four points clear at the top of the table.
In Saturday’s earlier game, Newcastle Falsons beat Gloucester 22-10 at Kingston Park Stadium.
A cagey opening quarter was brought to life by Randall, whose quickly taken penalty caught Chiefs napping, but his kick ahead for the supporting Ben Earl was grounded by Sam Hidalgo-Clyne in-goal.
But the scrumhalf was back in the action again shortly after, applying the finishing touches to a cleverly-worked lineout move to open the scoring.
The scrum was a scrappy affair early on, and after numerous resets and free-kicks, referee Karl Dickson eventually ran out of patience and issued yellow cards to both jake Woolmore and Harry Williams, making it 14-a-side.
The hosts levelled the scores five minutes before half time when Jonny Hill crashed over from close range with Joe Simmonds converting for 7-7.
Sheedy’s penalty edged the Bears in front after neat work from Kyle Sinckler and Radradra put them on the front foot.
But the game’s decisive moment arrived ten minutes from time, when Radradra raced on to Piers O’Conor’s deft pass to stretch over for his side’s second try, with Sheedy’s conversion opening up a ten-point lead.
The flyhalf was on target again two minutes from time to put the icing on a sensational away display from the Bears.
Exeter Chiefs 7-20 Bristol Bears
Con: J Simmonds
Tries: Randall, Radradra
Cons: Sheedy 2
Pens: Sheedy 2
Yellow cards: Harry Williams (Exeter, 29); Jake Woolmore (Bristol, 29)
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Jack Walsh, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Ian Whitten, 10 Joe Simmonds (captain), 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Don Armand, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Will Witty, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Alec Hepburn.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 James Kenny, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Tom Price, 20 Sam Skinner, 21 Sam Maunder, 22 Corey Baldwin, 23 James Short.
Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Piers O’Conor, 11 Siva Naulago, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Ben Earl, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Joe Joyce, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Jake Woolmore.
Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 John Afoa, 19 James Dun, 20 Dan Thomas, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Alapati Leiua.
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant Referees: Robert Warburton & Jonathan Healy.
TMO: David Rose.
Newcastle Falcons 22-10 Gloucester
Tries: Radwan, Orlando, McGuigan
Cons: Flood, Connon
Newcastle: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Toby Flood, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Sam Stuart, 8 Gary Graham, 7 Mark Wilson (captain), 6 Sean Robinson, 5 Marco Fuser, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 Jamie Blamire, 1 Trevor Davison.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Darren Barry, 20 Philip van der Walt, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 George Wacokecoke.
Gloucester: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Jonny May, 10 Lloyd Evans, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow (captain), 6 Alex Craig, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Matt Garvey, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 James Hanson, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin.
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker, 17 Alex Seville, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Jamie Gibson, 20 Seb Nagle-Taylor, 21 Charlie Chapman, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Santiago Carreras.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Hamish Smales & Wayne Falla.
TMO: Stuart Terheege.