- Gallagher Premiership
- Saturday, January 9th 2021
- Sandy Park
Will Carpenter reports from Sandy Park
Report: Exeter Chiefs 7-20 Bristol Bears
Saturday, January 9th 2021
Bristol Bears delivered an outstanding performance on both sides of the ball to beat Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park for the second season running and soar to the top of the Gallagher Premiership.
Tries in either half from Harry Randall and Semi Radradra cut through an ice-cold afternoon in Devon and cancelled out Jonny Hill’s 35th-minute effort, while Callum Sheedy was faultless from the tee with two conversions and two penalties.
It’s a fifth successive Gallagher Premiership win for Pat Lam’s side, who now find themselves four points clear at the top of the table.
A cagey opening quarter was brought to life by Randall, whose quickly taken penalty caught Chiefs napping, but his kick ahead for the supporting Ben Earl was grounded by Sam Hidalgo-Clyne in-goal.
But the scrum half was back in the action again shortly after, applying the finishing touches to a cleverly-worked lineout move to open the scoring.
The scrum was a scrappy affair early on, and after numerous resets and free-kicks, referee Karl Dickson eventually ran out of patience and issued yellow cards to both Woolmore and Williams, making it 14-a-side.
'When you need a spark, up he pops' 🤩— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) January 9, 2021
Radradra with the vital try for Bristol 🙌
Is that the winner? 👀 pic.twitter.com/xcpH3pcSKp
The hosts levelled the scores five minutes before half time when Jonny Hill crashed over from close range with Simmonds converting for 7-7.
Sheedy’s penalty edged the Bears in front after neat work from Sinckler and Radradra put them on the front foot.
But the game’s decisive moment arrived ten minutes from time, when Radradra raced on to O’Conor’s deft pass to stretch over for his side’s second try, with Sheedy’s conversion opening up a ten-point lead.
The fly half was on target again two minutes from time to put the icing on a sensational away display from the Bears.
Exeter Chiefs: Walsh; Woodburn, Slade, Devoto, Whitten; J Simmonds (c), Hidalgo-Clyne; Hepburn, Cowan-Dickie, Williams, Witty, Hill, Skinner, Armand, S Simmonds
Replacements: Yeandle, Kenny, Francis, Price, Gray, Maunder, Baldwin, Short
Bristol Bears: C Piutau; Morahan (Leiua 63), Radradra, O'Conor, Naulago (Lloyd 56); Sheedy, Randall (Uren 74); Woolmore (Y Thomas 29), Byrne (Capon 59), Sinckler (Afoa 63), Attwood, Joyce (Dun 74), Luatua (c), Earl (D Thomas 63), Hughes.
Replacements: Capon, Y Thomas, Afoa, Dun, D Thomas, Uren, Lloyd, Leiua
Exeter Chiefs: Tries: Hill 35. Cons: J Simmonds 35. Yellow: Williams 29
Bristol Bears: Tries: Randall 16, Radradra 70. Cons: Sheedy 16, 70, 78. Pens: Sheedy 44. Yellow: Woolmore 29
With the game very much in the balance at 7-10, a scrum inside the Bears 22 saw Hughes carry strongly into midfield.
From the next phase, Randall's wide pass picked out Lloyd, who plucked the ball out of the sky and dropped it on to his right foot in the same movement. The ball sat up nicely and once regathered by the Welsh flyer, his left-footed kick ahead forced Simmonds to carry the ball over his own line.
From here, the Bears turned the screw and minutes later, Radradra dived over to score the game's decisive try.
Pat Lam reaction
"It's about intensity, physicality, and it's about work"— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) January 9, 2021
Pat Lam is happy with the team's performance and mentality after a testing win over Exeter 🤝 pic.twitter.com/DmJxFIE2qC
Man of the match: Harry Randall
A try, wonderful game management and delicious array of passing, this was another masterclass from Harry Randall.
The number nine ran the show for the Bears, even getting himself on the end of a powerful driving lineout for the opening try.
Social media reaction
Ioan Lloyd. pic.twitter.com/RMVEkJ2MlG— Max Lahiff (@LahiffMax) January 9, 2021
- Yellow Cards:
- Radradra, Randall
- Sheedy (2)
- Sheedy (2)
- Yellow Cards: