Exeter Chiefs were made to sweat right until the final moments in recording a welcome Christmas Eve Premiership win over Bath at a blustery Sandy Park
Sandy Park plays host to Exeter Chiefs v Bath Rugby in Round 13 of the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership on Christmas Eve. Chiefs come into the match following impressive back-to-back wins in the Heineken Champions Cup while Bath lost home and away in the Premiership Rugby.
First-half of attempts from Dave Ewers and Henry Slade and Joe Simmonds’ 10 factors off the tee gave Chiefs the lead, after Joe Cokanasiga’s early Bath rating. Bath stiffened up their set-piece after the smash, and had been rewarded whilst Niall Annett mauled over for a strive.
MATCH SUMMARY – Exeter Chiefs 20-15 Bath Rugby
Bath Rugby had to settle for a losing bonus point against Exeter Chiefs but it could have been a lot more.
Joe Cokanasiga and Dave Ewers traded scores in the first quarter before Henry Slade’s try and Joe Simmonds’ boot put Exeter 20-10 up at half-time. The brilliant Niall Annett, who had to play almost the whole game due to an injury to Tom Dunn, crossed just past the hour to bring Bath to within five.
All the play was with Bath in remaining 15 and although opportunities were there, Chiefs stood firm to earn the win.
They saved the home side scoreless, however had been not able to similarly breach the line. This win takes Rob Baxter’s side up to sixth, leapfrogging Northampton, at the same time as Bath stay 2d bottom following successes for London Irish and Newcastle the preceding evening.
If Baxter became seeking out signs and symptoms that Exeter Rugby had rediscovered their mojo at the returned of European bonus factor wins, it became truly gift within the shielding mettle they confirmed in the final phases of this come upon.
Bath had rallied magnificently in the second 40, kicking to corners and the usage of line-outs to really dig at the heart of the Chiefs returned-line.
But Exeter stood firm even if they conceded a five-metre scrum with seconds left on the clock, and did no longer wilt inside the face of repeated drives before a relieving penalty sealed the points.
At the other give up, Exeter’s in advance tries had been more the end result of graft than craft, as Ewers powered over on the back of select-and-move surges and Slade’s rating accompanied a close-variety charge-down.
Bath commenced with the aid of scoring a high-quality attempt when a Louis Schreuder ball to the left wing was batted returned interior in one motion through Cameron Redpath for Cokanasiga to dive in.
And having compelled their way again into the competition, they were rewarded while Annett, an early alternative after Tom Dunn changed into forced off following a failed head damage assessment, finished off a close to full-group maul to make matters thrilling.
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But after three instantly wins in the autumn, lower back-to-again Premiership Rugby defeats keeps Johann van Graan’s aspect down at the incorrect stop of desk.
Bath director of rugby Johann van Graan told
I’m gutted. Exeter Chiefs are a team I respect a lot and we had an opportunity in the end to beat them here. To come up one metre short in the context of the game is gutting.
The charge down was a key moment in the game, seven points for them, but I’m really proud of the way we fought tonight. Credit to the Chiefs as well, I thought it was a class game. Conditions played their part, we had the first 40 against the wind and they had it in the second.
We’re getting better, we want to become tough to beat and we certainly were.
Exeter: Hodge, Nowell, Slade, Kata, Woodburn, J. Simmonds, Maunder; Sio, Yeandle (c), Williams, Jenkins, Gray, Ewers, Tshiunza, S. Simmonds.
Replacements: Frost, Iosefa-Scott, Schickerling, Dunne, Grondona, Cairns, Hendrickson, Hogg.
Bath: Gallagher, Cokanasiga, Lawrence, Redpath, McConnochie, Bailey, Schreuder; Boyce, Dunn, Rae, W. Spencer, Lee-Warner, Hill, Underhill, Bayliss.
Replacements: Annett, Morozov, Griffin, Attwood, Ellis, Spencer, Ojomoh, Reid.