- Gallagher Premiership
- Sunday, November 18th 2018
- Ashton Gate
Will Carpenter reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol Bears 29-31 Exeter Chiefs
Sunday, November 18th 2018
A controversial 83rd-minute penalty try saw Exeter Chiefs snatch a dramatic bonus-point victory over Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate on Sunday.
Pat Lam’s side led 29-24 with the clock in the red, but after the Exeter Chiefs driving lineout had rumbled towards the hosts’ line, referee Greg Macdonald went under the posts to award the match-winning score and break Bristol hearts in the dying seconds.
Tries either side of half-time from Charles Piutau and Luke Morahan saw Bristol surge into a 26-12 lead six minutes into the second period, but Chiefs hit back through Jack Yeandle and Santiago Cordero to make in a two-point game late on.
Sheedy’s fifth penalty – completing a 19-point haul – edged the home side further ahead as time ticked away.
But after a flurry of late penalties, the Chiefs and Greg Macdonald had the final say, as Rob Baxter’s side maintained their unbeaten start to the Gallagher Premiership campaign.
In a breathless encounter, it was Callum Sheedy who opened the scoring with a penalty on four minutes, after strong busts from Hurrell and Luatua inside the Chiefs 22.
Exeter crossed for the first try of the afternoon just four minutes later when Tom Lawday’s carry put Bristol on the back foot and Moray Low bundled over from close range.
Successive penalties from Sheedy edged Bristol back in front midway through the half, and the number ten continued his hot streak with a fourth successful kick of the half to make it 12-7 on 25 minutes.
Tom Lawday’s try levelled the scores, following a long consultation with the TMO, but Charles Piutau’s first for the club sent Bristol into the break with a seven-point lead, as the full-back caught the Chiefs defence napping with a quickly-taken penalty five metres out.
And Bristol’s momentum carried through to the second-half, with Morahan applying a neat finish to some slick handling from prop John Afoa on the short side to extend the lead on 46 minutes.
Chiefs then struck a double-blow to reduce the deficit to just two points, as Santiago Cordero stepped and slalomed his way to the whitewash, before a smart lineout move sent Yeandle in the corner.
In between the two Chiefs scores, Piers O’Conor came within a whisker of Bristol’s third, failing to cling on after Sheedy’s long-range penalty had rebounded of the crossbar.
The Bristol fly-half’s fifth successful penalty looked to have given the home side a memorable win five minutes from time. But Exeter weren’t to be denied, with the last-gasp penalty try sealing a dramatic win for the visitors.
Bristol Bears: C Piutau (Bedlow 63), Morahan, O’Conor, Hurrell, Edwards, Sheedy, Uren; Y Thomas, Malton (Lindsay 69), Afoa, Holmes (Joyce 69), Muldowney, Luatua (cc) (Smith 44), D Thomas, Haining. Replacements: Lindsay, Woolmore, Thiede, Joyce, Smith, Randall, Eden, Bedlow.
Exeter Chiefs: Dollman, Cordero, Whitten, Devoto, Cuthbert, Steenson, Townsend; Low
Yeandle (c), Holmes, Atkins, Lees, Armand, Kvesic, Lawday. Replacement: Taione, Keast, Street, Van Der Sluys, Dennis, White, J Simmonds, Hill.
Bristol Bears: Tries: C Piutau 36, Morahan 46. Cons: 36, 46. Pens: Sheedy 4, 15, 19, 25, 75. Yellow: Sheedy 80.
Exeter Chiefs: Tries: Low 8, Lawday 29, Cordero 53, Yeandle 70, Penalty. Cons: Steenson 8, 53.
The game's decisive moment came with the clock in the red, as Exeter Chiefs snatched a dramatic and controversial win at Ashton Gate.
Having earned a penalty in Bristol territory, the Chiefs' driving lineout was adjudged to have been illegally halted, and referee Greg Macdonald awarded a last-gasp penalty try.
Man of the match: Callum Sheedy
On the day he became the third youngest player to captain the club in a league game, Callum Sheedy delivered a masterclass in the number ten shirt.
Five penalties and two conversions completed a 19-point haul for Sheedy, but the fly-half was a constant threat to the Exeter Chiefs defence, playing flat to the line and adding spark to the hosts' attack.
Photo of the match:
Social media posts of the match:
- Piutau, Morahan
- Sheedy (2)
- Sheedy (5)
- Yellow Cards:
- Cordero, Low, Yeandle, Lawday
- Steenson (2)
- Yellow Cards: