Match Centre: Gallagher Premiership: Exeter 29-20 Bristol

Henry Slade kicked three conversions and a penalty goal
Henry Slade kicked three conversions and a penalty goal
©Steve Haag

Exeter 29-20 Bristol, Sandy Park

Exeter Chiefs returned to the top of the Gallagher Premiership table as they edged out Bristol Bears 29-20 in the latest round at Sandy Park on Sunday.

This is third win for Exeter in four games as they reclaim the top position with 15 points while Bristol are at sixth place with 10 points.

Rusi Tuima opened the account in the 2nd minute as Jacques Vermeulen and Ross Vintcent set up Rusi Tuima over the line and Henry Slade kicked the conversion.

The response from Bristol almost came up immediately as Callum Sheedy kicked a penalty goal following which the fly-half kicked the ball to the corner that was collected by Richard Lane on his way over the line to make it 7-8.

Lane completed his second by the end of the opening quarter with once again Sheedy sending a perfect chip to Lane, who evaded a tackle from Tommy Wyatt to dot down. Sheedy missed out on the conversion for the second time as Bristol continued to lead by a 7-13 margin.

Exeter seized the lead by the 25th minute as Ehren Painter dived from close range and Slade improved to make it 14-13. The visitors had a chance to go in front but Sheedy's penalty drifted wide.

With the half-time approaching, Harry Thacker was sin-binned for offside in the corner as the teams completed the opening half with a 14-13 scoreline.

Exeter extended the momentum into the second half as Tommy Wyatt completed his first Premiership try and shortly Lane completed his hat-trick with a dive in the corner as the gap between the remained at one point.

The bonus point for Exeter came in the 67th minute as Josh Iosefa-Scott crossing the whitewash. Slade missed out on the conversion but made amends with a penalty goal in the 75th minute to make it 29-20. James Williams had a chance to secure a losing bonus point but his three-pointer drifted wide in the closing stage as Exeter completed a nine point victory.

Team line up:

Exeter: Wyatt; Feyi-Waboso, Slade, Hendrickson, Woodburn; Skinner, Cairns; Sio, Yeandle (capt), Painter, Tuima, Pearson, Roots, Vermeulen, Vintcent.

Reserves: Frost, Abuladze, Iosefa-Scott, Jenkins, Davis, Armstrong, Haydon-Wood, Hawkins

Bristol: Lane; Heward, Vakatawa, Janse van Rensburg, Ibitoye; Sheedy, Marmion; Grahamslaw, Capon, Kloska, Caulfield, Batley, Dun, Harding (capt), Bradbury.

Reserves: Thacker, Woolmore, Lahiff, Holmes, D. Thomas, Randall, Williams, O'Conor.

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the can only be the Gallagher Premiership.

The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?

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