Exeter secure play-off spot
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Exeter Chiefs secured their place in the Premiership semifinals as they beat Bath 29-10.
They scored two tries in each half at Sandy Park as Ollie Devoto and captain Jack Yeandle touched down before the break as well as a score from Olly Woodburn and a penalty try in the second period.
Bath had led after a try from prop Nathan Catt in the first half but the Chiefs surged back into the game after being second best in the opening 20 minutes.
Ruaridh McConnochie showed the first piece of attacking running in the opening few minutes, crashing onto Jonathan Joseph’s pass and beating three men before he was taken down a few metres short.
Bath retained the ball through the phases before winning a penalty, which was slotted by Rhys Priestland to open the scoring.
But Joe Simmonds drew the hosts level after Bath were penalised when Charlie Ewels was adjudged to have entered a ruck from the side.
Woodburn looked to have put Chiefs ahead as he crawled over and touched down – but Karl Dickson ruled a tackle had been completed and it was ruled out.
Bath had the first try not long after when they made the most of Joseph’s scything break.
The visiting pack showed patience to go through the phases before Catt burrowed down to extend his arm and touch down – Priestland adding the extras to make it 10-3.
Exeter came straight back with Santiago Cordero’s searing break resulting in them rumbling over, only for Alec Hepburn to be held up.
And they had their first score in the 26th minute as Devoto made the most of Simmonds’ show and go to power over from five metres out.
Bath burst straight back at them as Joe Cokanasiga blasted onto Joseph’s short pass before offloading to a marauding Zach Mercer, but he was wrapped up and forced out just short of the line by Jack Nowell.
Just before the break Don Armand’s inside pass put through skipper Jack Yeandle to extend Exeter’s advantage to 17-10 after Simmonds’ conversion.
Both sides came into the second period with attacking intent but the third quarter of the game did not yield any points.
On the hour Exeter extended their advantage after a period of pressure up front, as referee Karl Dickson called the penalty try with the visitors pack going backwards close to the line – Bath replacement prop Beno Obano was sin-binned for his role in collapsing the scrum.
The hosts continued to pile on the pressure at the end of the half and it eventually told as they secured a bonus-point win with Woodburn’s score in the corner – his 21st try at Sandy Park.
For Exeter Chiefs:
Tries: Devoto, Yeandle, Penalty Try, Woodburn
Cons: Simmonds 2
Yellow card: Beno Obano (Bath, 59)
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Santiago Cordero, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Nic White, 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Don Armand, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Dave Dennis, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Yeandle (captain), 1 Alec Hepburn.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Billy Keast, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Mitch Lees, 20 Sam Skinner, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Sam Hill.
Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Ruaridh McConnochie, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Will Chudley (captain), 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Nathan Catt.
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Levi Douglas, 20 Sam Underhill, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Max Clark.
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant Referees: Philip Watters & Jonathan Healy.
TMO: Keith Lewis.