Exeter 7-20 Bristol: Bears make a roaring statement to beat champions

Exeter 7-20 Bristol: Bears make a roaring statement of intent as they beat Premiership champions Chiefs to top the table after Semi Radradra scores pivotal try

  • Bristol jumped to the top of the Premiership as they beat champions Exeter 
  • It was a second loss in a week for Chiefs who face a tough defence of their title 
  • Semi Radrada’s try after 69 minutes proved the game breaker for the Bears 

Pat Lam’s Bristol jumped to the top of the Premiership as they beat champions Exeter in their own back yard and made a statement to the entire league.

It was a second loss in a week for Chiefs who face the prospect of a real fight for their title and are teetering in Europe if it gets finished.

Semi Radradra’s try after 69 minutes proved the game breaker for the Bears as the Fijian centre piled over after a mountain of Bristol pressure.

Pat Lam’s Bristol jumped to the top of the Premiership as they beat champions Exeter

Centre Semi Radradra’s try after 69 minutes proved the game breaker for the Bears

Prop John Afoa and No.8 Nathan Hughes both went close in the build-up to the score which was made by a neat pass by inside centre Piers O’Conor after the forwards had done the donkey work.

Bristol’s defence was magnificent and was the foundation of this win despite the sparkle provided by the likes of Radradra and scrum-half Harry Randall.

Randall had a stormer scoring one try, nearly creating another and being involved in the Radradra score. And flanker Ben Earl was at his barnstorming best on his first Premiership start of the season and in front of England head coach Eddie Jones.

This Bristol might be relatively new in the top flight but they are making a big noise.

Pat Lam’s side might be relatively new in the top flight but they are making a big noise

Exeter had talked about flying off the mark after last week’s 34-5 defeat at Wasps but they were guilty of giving too many penalties early on and were on the back foot.

Bristol went close when flanker Ben Earl was just beaten to the ball over the line by Chiefs scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne but the first score came in the 15th minute and it was right out of the Exeter play-book.

Only it was the Bears who got over the line after skipper Steven Luatua won a line out, shifted the ball to No.8 Nathan Hughes and scrum-half Harry Randall emerged from a pile of bodies with the ball.

Fly half Callum Sheedy kicked over crucial points as the visitors topped the Premiership

But the scrum continually needed resetting and ref Karl Dickson threatened to bin props from both sides. And he lost patience on the half hour when he yellow carded Bristol’s Jake Woolmore and Exeter’s Harry Williams to try and speed the game up and it was a welcome move from the official.

Chiefs levelled, at 7-7, it just before the break when lock Jonny Hill went over from short range after No.8 Sam Simmonds had gone close.

Callum Sheedy regained the lead, with a penalty, for the Bears on 44 minutes as most of the game continued to be played between the two 22m lines and bodies were flying everywhere. Then came Radradra’s intervention, another Sheedy penalty, and Bristol are top of the pile.




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