- Gallagher Premiership
- Tuesday, August 25th 2020
- Ashton Gate
Will Carpenter reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol Bears 22-25 Exeter Chiefs
Tuesday, August 25th 2020
Billy Keast’s try two minutes from time snatched a dramatic victory for Exeter Chiefs in a pulsating midweek clash at Ashton Gate.
Ioan Lloyd looked to have nicked it for the Bears when he coasted around the visiting defence to touch down on 70 minutes, as Pat Lam’s side battled back from a 12-point half-time deficit to lead 22-18.
Earlier in the half, two tries in five minutes from Piers O’Conor and Luke Morahan had turned a frenetic game on its head with half an hour still to play.
Steenson’s second penalty edged the Chiefs back in front before Lloyd’s virtuoso score, but Keast drove over from close range late on to condemn the Bears to first defeat in eight games.
The opening exchanges were all Exeter, as the league leaders set up camp inside the Bears half in the opening quarter.
They were rewarded for their early dominance on 15 minutes when Sam Hidalgo-Clyne’s flat pass sent Dollman through the hole to score the game’s opening try.
Eight minutes later, they had a second with scrum half Hidalgo-Clyne going over in the corner after neat interplay from Steenson and Woodburn down the short side.
A Steenson penalty further extended the Chiefs lead, before the Bears finally leapt into life. First, Luatua and Sinckler combined to put the hosts on the front foot, and when Kirsten was penalised on the floor, Sheedy got the Bears on the board with a penalty.
Two steals at the lineout kept the Bears’ momentum flowing, but when Piutau stormed on to a pass from Dan Thomas to break clean through, Radradra’s pass was deemed forward to bring the first half to a conclusion.
The Bears began the second half as they had finished the first, and after Sheedy’s penalty had struck the post, Morahan’s break down the right and a strong carry from Bryan Byrne in midfield saw O’Conor dart over in the left-hand corner.
Back they came again, this time courtesy of the power game as the driving lineout rumbled forward. With penalty advantage, Uren unleashed the backs and quick hands from Piutau sent Morahan in for his eighth try of the Gallagher Premiership season.
At the other end, Steenson’s simple penalty gave Chiefs a one-point lead just after the hour mark, but when the fleet-footed Lloyd outstripped the visiting defence to score out wide, it looked as if the Bears were heading for an eighth successive league win.
Chiefs had other ideas, and after being denied from a quickly taken penalty, Keast powered through the fringes to touch down, with Steenson’s conversion sealing victory for Rob Baxter’s table-toppers.
Teams and scorers
Bristol Bears: C Piutau (Lloyd 62); Morahan, Radradra, O’Conor, Purdy (Leiua 50); Sheedy, Randall (Uren 37); 1. Lahiff (Woolmore 35), Byrne (Thacker 50), Sinckler (Y Thomas 78), Holmes, Attwood (Joyce 73), Luatua (c), D Thomas, Hughes (Earl 50).
System players: Thacker, Woolmore, Afoa, Joyce, Earl, Uren, Lloyd, Leiua.
Exeter Chiefs: Hodge, O’Flaherty, Dollman, Hendrickson, Woodburn, Steenson, Hidalgo-Clyne; Hepburn, Yeandle (c), Francis, Dennis, Skinner, Kirsten, Armand, Lonsdale.
Replacements: Innard, Keast, Street, Witty, Capstick, Snow, Skinner, Wyatt
Bristol Bears: Tries: O’Conor 49, Morahan 53, Lloyd 71. Cons: Sheedy 49, 53. Pens: Sheedy 38
Exeter Chiefs: Tries: Dollman 15, Hidalgo-Clyne 23, Keast 78. Cons: Steenson 15. Pens: Steenson 35, 64
The moment that mattered most.
Ioan Lloyd's try looked to have snatched victory for Bristol, but Billy Keast drove over from close range to seal it for the Chiefs.
The moment that sealed the win for Exeter 🙌 pic.twitter.com/394lGF2dH8— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) August 25, 2020
Pat Lam reaction
🎥| "In the first half we didn't fire a shot and we worked our way back into the game. It was disappointing that we showed poor discipline in the last ten minutes."— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) August 25, 2020
Pat Lam rues soft penalties 👇 pic.twitter.com/cCAEqXUhLT
Man of the match: Nathan Hughes
A typically barnstorming display from the Bears number eight, whose work in attack and defence almost helped his side overturn a 15-point deficit at Ashton Gate.
One pick and go through the breakdown got the Bears into gear late in the first half, as they clawed their way back from 15-3 down to lead with ten minutes to go.
But Keast's last-gasp try snatched the win for Chiefs.
Social media highlights
We knew it was going to be big, but that was spectacular 🔥— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) August 25, 2020
Despite an exceptional comeback from @BristolBears, @ExeterChiefs assert their dominance once more and take the win at Ashton Gate 👏
Man of the match? 👇#GallagherPrem #BRIvEXE pic.twitter.com/YqBqu2JuQ1
- Morahan, O'Conor, Lloyd
- Sheedy (2)
- Yellow Cards:
- Dollman, Hidalgo-Clyne, Keast
- Steenson (2)
- Steenson (2)
- Yellow Cards: