- Gallagher Premiership
- Saturday, January 5th 2019
- Sandy Park
Will Carpenter reports from Sandy Park
Report: Exeter Chiefs 14-9 Bristol Bears
Saturday, January 5th 2019
Bristol Bears battled to a losing bonus-point against Gallagher Premiership leaders, Exeter Chiefs in a tight-knit West Country derby at Sandy Park.
Three penalties from the boot of Ian Madigan kept Pat Lam’s side in touch throughout a spirited 80-minute performance, with tries from Santiago Cordero and Sean Lonsdale proving decisive for the home side.
In freezing conditions in Devon, Harry Randall’s searing break with penalty advantage almost forced the first scoring opportunity on eight minutes.
But after Jack Lam’s step and fend had taken Bristol into the Exeter 22, Madigan opened the scoring for the visitors on 13 minutes.
What followed was a tightly-contested period of play, with Chiefs beginning to hit their stride as the clock ticked away on the first half.
And they got just reward for a prolonged period of pressure inside Bristol territory on the stroke of half-time, when Slade’s wide cut-out pass found Cordero in plenty of space on the right-hand touchline, and the Argentinian applied the simplest of finishes. Steenson’s touchline conversion sent the home side into the break with a narrow advantage.
The second-half started in similar fashion to the first, with a Madigan penalty reducing Bristol’s deficit to just one point on 48 minutes.
Eight minutes later, Pat Lam’s side found themselves in the lead when a mix-up between Cordero and Dollman after a neat kick from Harry Randall saw the visitors awarded a penalty for offside. And Madigan continued his 100 percent record from the tee with a third successful kick to edge Bristol into a two-point lead.
But the lead lasted just ten minutes, as Sean Lonsdale burrowed over from close range for Chiefs’ second try, with Steenson’s conversion making it 14-9.
And that was how it finished at Sandy Park, as Bristol Bears secured a impressive losing bonus-point on the road.
Bristol Bears: O’Conor; Morahan, Hurrell, S Piutau (cc) (Protheroe 59), Pincus; Madigan (Sheedy 67), Randall (Uren 64); Woolmore (Y Thomas 40), Lindsay (Thacker 40), Thiede (Afoa 28), Holmes, Joyce, Vui, Lam (D Thomas 26), Crane (cc) (Smith 42).
Replacements: Thacker, Thomas, Afoa, Smith, D Thomas, Uren, Sheedy, Protheroe.
Exeter Chiefs: Dollman; Cordero, Slade, Whitten, O’Flaherty; Steenson (c), Maunder; Moon, Cowan-Dickie, Williams, Dennis, Hill, Skinner, Lonsdale, Kvesic.
Replacements: Yeandle, Hepburn, Francis, Lees, Van der Sluys, White, Simmonds, Devoto.
Bristol Bears: Pens: Madigan 12, 48, 56
Exeter Chiefs: Tries: Cordero 40, Lonsdale 66. Cons: Steenson 40, Simmonds 66
After a resolute defensive effort from Bristol during an hard-fought first-half, Santiago Cordero's try on the stroke of half-time sent Exeter into the break with a narrow lead.
And although the lead changed hands again courtesy of two Ian Madigan penalties, Sean Lonsdale's try on 66 minutes proved decisive for the league leaders.
Man of the match: Harry Randall
The young scrum-half marshalled the Bristol Bears side remarkably well against the league leaders, varying his game beautifully between bullet passes, well-judged kicks and sniping breaks.
Randall lit up a freezing cold Sandy Park as early as the sixth-minute with a searing break from his own 22, with the final pass to Tom Pincus just going astray.
A really strong showing the number nine.
Photo of the match:
Social media posts of the day:
- Cordero, Lonsdale
- Steenson, Simmonds
- Yellow Cards:
- Madigan (3)
- Yellow Cards: