Exeter Chiefs maintain top position with 42-29 bonus point win over Bath

Exeter's Gareth Steenson claimed a 17-point haul
Exeter's Gareth Steenson claimed a 17-point haul

Exeter Chiefs 42-29 Bath Rugby, Sandy Park

A dominant first half performance from Exeter Chiefs saw them seal a 42-29 bonus point victory over Bath Rugby in their Aviva Premiership encounter at Sandy Park on Saturday.

Bath did score four tries in the final quarter but their resurgence came too late in the game as they suffered their fourth defeat in the season while the defending champions Exeter consolidated their position at the top.

Exter decided to rest England international Henry Slade and Wales' Tomas Francis but Luke Cowan-Dickie and Jack Nowell returned from injuries.

Cowan-Dickie set the tone for Exeter with a seventh minute try and eight minutes later James Short also went past the line as the home side doubled the lead to 14 points.

Even though Freddie Burns got Bath off the mark with a 27th minute penalty, tries from Mitch Lees (28') and Don Armand (35') helped Exeter claim the bonus point in the first half. Gareth Steenson added the conversions on all the four tries as Exeter headed into the second half with a 28-3 lead.

The dominance from Rob Baxter's side continued in the second half as Thomas Waldrom went past the line 12 minutes after the restart before Jonathan Joseph grabbed Bath's first try in the 65th minute, though his efforts were negated by a converted try from Steenson two minutes later.

Even though Todd Blackadder's side tried to fight till the end with three tries in the final 10 minutes that came from Anthony Watson (72'), Aled Brew (75') and Matt Banahan (79') their efforts in the first half proved costly as Bath succumbed to a 13 point defeat.

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