- Gallagher Premiership
- Friday, April 23rd 2021
- Ashton Gate
Will Carpenter reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol Bears 12-20 Exeter Chiefs
Friday, April 23rd 2021
Bristol Bears’ six game winning streak in the Gallagher Premiership was brought to a halt by the reigning champions, as they were outgunned by the Exeter Chiefs in a bruising encounter at Ashton Gate.
Andy Uren’s first half try, springing sharply off the deck after Piutau’s surge downfield, was cancelled out by the close-range power of Sam Skinner, with both number 10s seeing their conversions drift uncharacteristically wide.
Sam Simmonds scything break was finished off by Tom O’Flaherty six minutes before the interval, with Joe Simmonds adding the conversion and then a penalty to open up a 10-point advantage at the break.
Jacques Vermeulen extended Chiefs’ lead further on 56 minutes and despite Luke Morahan’s late score, after more Piutau magic, it was the Chiefs who took the spoils in a spectacular top-of-the-table clash.
A frenetic start saw Luke Cowan-Dickie find space around the fringes and feed Vermeulen, only to be hauled down by a scrambling Morahan in the backfield.
At the other end, it was the Bears who struck first on the scoreboard – Piutau eating up the gorund in front of him having received the ball inside his own 22 and linking beautifully with Adeolokun and then Uren. The scrum half was scragged by O’Flaherty but regained his footing and accelerated in to open the scoring.
The Bears’ backfield defence was called into action again when Sam Simmonds burst clear after pouncing on a loose ball, with Piutau covering well to deny the Chiefs number eight.
But they weren’t to be denied from close range, as Skinner burrowed over to level the scores on 26 minutes.
Eight minutes later, they were ahead. Sam Simmonds fading off his brother’s pass to cruise through the gap before finding O’Flaherty who applied the finish.
A scrum penalty under the sticks allowed Simmonds to extend the lead further on the stroke of half time, as the visitors took control at the Gate.
The Chiefs stormed further clear midway through the second period, when Vermeulen went over from close range, and the win almost signed, sealed and delivered.
The Bears had the final say courtesy of Piutau’s double-pumped dummy and eventual offload to Morahan in the right-hand corner – and although Lloyd’s conversion gave them a glimpse of a losing bonus-point, the Chiefs held on to close the gap at the top to eight points.
Bristol Bears: C Piutau; Adeolokun (Lloyd 63), O'Conor, Bedlow (Leiua 54), Morahan; Malins, Uren; Y Thomas (Woolmore 54), Byrne (Capon 54), Sinckler (Afoa 54), Attwood (Joyce 50), Vui (Harding 68), Luatua (c), D Thomas, Heenan.
Replacements: Capon, Woolmore, Afoa, Joyce, Harding, Kessell, Lloyd, Leiua.
Exeter Chiefs: Hogg; Nowell, Slade, Devoto, O'Flaherty; J Simmonds (c), Maunder, Moon, Cowan-Dickie, Francis, Gray, Hill, S Skinner, Vermeulen, S Simmonds
Replacements: Yeandle, Hepburn, Williams, Lonsdale, Capstick, Townsend, H Skinner, Whitten.
Bristol Bears: Tries: Uren 15, Morahan 78. Cons: Lloyd 78
Exeter Chiefs: Tries: S Skinner 26, O’Flaherty 34, Vermeulen 56. Cons: J Simmonds 34. Pens: J Simmonds 39
The Chiefs led by 10 at half time and extended that lead to 15 midway through the second half when Jacques Vermeulen powered over from close range.
It was a score that put the game out of the Bears' reach, with Morahan's late score not enough to step Pat Lam's men leaving empty-handed.
Pat Lam reaction
🗣️ "There were key areas that our game broke down."— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) April 23, 2021
Pat Lam on loss 👇 pic.twitter.com/BwNuumoxgh
Man of the match: Andy Uren
An early score and an impressive all-court game from the homegrown scrum half against the reigning Champions.
Uren darted over to open the scoring on 16 minutes, kicked well throughout and dictated the hosts' tempo.
- Morahan, Uren
- Yellow Cards:
- O'Flaherty, Skinner, Vermeulen
- Yellow Cards: