Exeter Chiefs and Bath play to a draw

Exeter Chiefs and West Country rivals Bath played to a 12-all draw in their Aviva Premiership Rugby clash thanks to a late penalty try at Sandy Park on Saturday.

Bath were forced into a late change before the match as Dan Hipkiss had to withdraw and he was replaced by Ben Williams on the bench at number 23.

Both sides went into the game on the back of defeats with Exeter seeing their
run of seven victories halted by a 18-16 defeat at Gloucester while Bath were
hammered 22-0 at home to Saracens.

Tom Hayes returned to the second row to lead the Chiefs while Phil Dollman came
in at outside centre so James Hanks and Ian Whitten dropped to the bench where
they were joined by the return of England international Tom Johnson.

Full-back Ollie Devoto made his first Premiership start for Bath while inside
centre Matt Banahan, locks Dave Attwood and Ryan Caldwell and number eight Ben
Skirving all returned to action for the visitors.

The Chiefs applied the early pressure but conceded silly penalties and when
close to the posts they had the ball turned over. Then with 12 minutes on the
clock fly-half Gareth Steenson, with the wind at his back, landed the opening

But the visitors hit back immediately with a try started and finished by scrum
half Michael Claassens in the left corner with great support play from wing
Tom Biggs and fly-half Steven Donald. Claassens was unable to convert from touchline.

Exeter wasted a try scoring opportunity when full back Luke Arscott made the
break through the middle and, with scrum half Hayden Thomas on his right in
space, he passed to lock Aly Muldowney who was quickly brought to ground.

The home side were able to create breaks from deep in their own half but unforced
errors or penalties were again the Chiefs downfall when they ventured into the
Bath 22 allowing the visitors to keep their line intact.

Then, with time already up on the clock, Bath wing Horacio Agulla was penalised
for coming in at the side of the ruck and Steenson stepped-up to land his second
kick of the game and nudge the Chiefs into a 6-5 half-time lead.

Steenson increased the lead minutes after the restart when Bath repeated the
previous offence just before the break but this time Skirving was the culprit.
The penalty from the former Ireland under-21 took him past 1,000 points since
his Exeter debut in 2008.

The Chiefs were certainly an improved side in the second half at the scrum and
the lineout as well as limiting their errors. Bath strayed offside when inside
their own 22 and Steenson kept a clean sheet with his fourth penalty kick.

Exeter again showed that they too can defend their own line and with the game
going into the final 10 minutes the Chiefs again camped out inside the Bath
22. But when they turned a Bath scrum the home side were penalised for standing

Bath won a penalty inside the Exeter 22 and opt to kick for the corner and then
the Chiefs were penalised at the ruck. Bath repeated the move and referee David
Rose awarded a penalty try. Tom Heathcote added the extras to level the score.

Final Score Exeter 12 (6) Bath 12 (5)


Exeter Chiefs
Penalties: Steenson 4

Tries: Claassens, Penalty Try
Conversions: Heathcote

Match Officials
: David Rose (104th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Peter Huckle, Andrew Pearce.


Exeter Chiefs

15 Luke Arscott,14 Gonzalo Camacho,13 Phil Dollman,12 Jason Shoemark,11 Matt Jess,10 Gareth Steenson,9 Haydn Thomas,8 Richard Baxter,7 James Scaysbrook,6 Dean Mumm,5 Aly Muldo

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