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REPORT: Exeter Chiefs 38-34 Bristol Rugby

Match Report

Saturday, April 8th 2017

Aviva Premiership Rugby

Exeter Chiefs 38 - 34 Bristol Rugby*

HT 17-24

Waldrom (2), Woodburn, Whitten, Parling Tries Eadie, Henson, Hurrell, Woodward
Slade (4), Steenson Conversions Henson (4)
Slade Penalties Henson (2)

KO: 3:15PM

Att: 12232

Venue: Sandy Park

Ref: Thomas Foley


Exeter Chiefs

  • 1 Benjamin Moon
  • 2 Luke Anthony Cowan-Dickie
  • 3 Harry Anthony Hall Williams
  • 4 Mitchell R. Lees
  • 5 Jonathan Paul Hill
  • 6 David Andrew Dennis
  • 7 Donovan Wade Armand
  • 8 Thomas Robert Waldrom
  • 9 Jack Andrew L. Maunder
  • 10 Henry James H. Slade
  • 11 Oliver Michael A. Woodburn
  • 12 Oliver Jonathan Devoto
  • 13 Ian W. Whitten
  • 14 Jack Thomas Nowell
  • 15 Phillip John L. Dollman


  • 16 Stephen Jack Yeandle
  • 17 Carl James Rimmer
  • 18 Gregory S. Holmes
  • 19 Geoffrey Matthew Walter Parling
  • 20 David P. Ewers
  • 21 Stuart Gregory Townsend
  • 22 Gareth R. Steenson
  • 23 Michele Campagnaro

Bristol Rugby

  • 1 Ryan John Bevington
  • 2 Geraint Marc Jones
  • 3 Rodrigo Gaston Cortes
  • 4 James Montague Phillips
  • 5 Mark Richard Sorenson
  • 6 Samuel Phillip Jeffries
  • 7 Jack Tafa Lam
  • 8 Mitchell William Eadie
  • 9 Albert Samuel Mathewson
  • 10 Billy George Searle
  • 11 Jack Terence Tovey
  • 12 Gavin Lloyd Henson
  • 13 William Harry Hurrell
  • 14 Ryan Luke Edwards
  • 15 Jason Christopher Woodward


  • 16 Max Christopher Crumpton
  • 17 Jack James O'Connell
  • 18 Jamal Michael Ford-Robinson
  • 19 Benjamin Edward Glynn
  • 20 Nicholas Sean Fenton-Wells
  • 21 Rhodri Williams
  • 22 James William Newey
  • 23 Charles Ashley Amesbury

Bristol Rugby were denied a bonus-point win at Sandy Park in dramatic fashion as Thomas Waldrom’s last-gasp try condemned Mark Tainton’s side to a 38-34 defeat.

Seventeen points from Gavin Henson - a try, three penalties and four conversions – and tries from Jason Woodward, Will Hurrell and Mitch Eadie had given Bristol a 34-31 lead with four minutes remaining. 

But Waldrom’s late try, his second of the afternoon, sealed victory for the Chiefs and left Bristol with just two losing bonus points to show for their spirited efforts in Devon.

What happened?

It was a less than ideal start for Bristol who fell behind inside two minutes when Olly Woodburn rounded off a swift counter attack to give the hosts an early lead.

Henry Slade slotted the touchline conversion but minutes later, the fly half gifted Bristol their opening try when Will Hurrell intercepted his pass and cantered in under the posts for his first of the season.

Gavin Henson fired over the conversion and then a penalty as Bristol edged into a 10-7 lead in the tenth minute.

A second Bristol try followed soon after as Mark Tainton’s men capitalised on another Chiefs handling error - Jason Woodward the beneficiary this time, scooping up a loose pass from Harry Williams before winning a footrace to the line from all of 70 metres.

Will Hurrell races away for Bristol Rugby's second try at Sandy Park (JMP UK).

Slade’s penalty made it 17-10 on 20 minutes but Bristol increased their lead shortly before the half hour mark when Jack Tovey’s powerful surge and Marc Jones delicate offload saw Henson touch down in the left-hand corner before adding the conversion.

Chiefs hit back and after a period of prolonged pressure in the Bristol 22, replacement Geoff Parling crashed over on the stroke of half time with Slade’s conversion making it a seven-point game at the interval.

The second half began in identical fashion to the first, with a try for Exeter, as Ian Whitten collected an offload from Phil Dollman to touch down and Slade’s conversion levelled the scores.

Rob Baxter’s men edged themselves into the lead courtesy of Thomas Waldrom and a powerful Chiefs maul before a second Henson penalty made it 31-27.


Gavin Henson touches down during an action-packed first half (JMP UK).

In this end-to-end encounter, the lead switched hands again when neat interplay between Tovey and Eadie – following up Searle’s searching kick - saw the latter earn Bristol a first try bonus-point of the season in the Aviva Premiership, with Henson’s conversion making it 34-31 to the visitors.

Indiscipline at the breakdown and set-piece prevented Bristol from clearing their lines as Exeter hammered away in search of their own try bonus point – but an error from Slade, whose penalty kick for touch drifted the wrong side of the corner flag – gave Bristol space to breath.

Henson’s long-range penalty on 70 minutes had neither the legs nor direction and when Dollman returned with interest, Ford-Robinson’s bone crunching hit stopped him in his tracks as Bristol scrapped for a memorable away win.

But the hosts worked their way down field again and after Dave Ewers midfield surge, Waldrom burrowed over to snatch the points and secure a dramatic Exeter victory.

Key moment:

After Bristol had edged themselves into a narrow 34-31 lead with five minutes left to play, Thomas Waldrom's second try of the afternoon proved decisive as Sandy Park as Bristol were forced to settle for two losing bonus-points on the road.

Photo of the match:

Mitch Eadie touches down for Bristol Rugby's bonus-point try at Sandy Park (JMP UK).

Man of the match: Mitch Eadie

After taking an early knock, Eadie recovered to deliver another influential performance in a Bristol shirt. The back-row forward was impressive in attack and defence, making a menace of himself at the breakdown and touching down for a try midway through the second half. 

Social media post of the day: