Exeter scored late on to beat second-placed Bristol and move 11 points clear at the top of the Premiership.
First half tries from Phil Dollman and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne meant the much-changed Chiefs held a 15-3 lead at the break.
A much-improved Bears came back to take the lead, scoring tries through Piers O’Conor, Luke Morahan and Ioan Lloyd.
Nevertheless, Chiefs had the final say with replacement prop Billy Keast crossing the whitewash late on with Gareth Steenson converting to secure a a narrow 25-22 victory.
RUCK.co.uk man of the match – Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Exeter Chiefs)
JOIN THE RUCK:
Phil Dollman (Exeter Chiefs) – The versatile back, who will take up a player-coach role with Sidmouth RFC next season, proved he can still do the business aged 35. He danced past three Bears defenders to open the try-scoring and throughout the game made 77 metres from his five carries.
Phil Dollman hasn’t lost a step 🙌— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) August 25, 2020
Slicing open the Bears…
How long has he been doing this for?! pic.twitter.com/87VMTbVOAY
Charles Piutau (Bristol Bears) – Showed his quality throughout, especially at the start of the second-half. The fullback made 79 metres from his eight carries and picked up another try assist.
Semi Radradra (Bristol Bears) – Another fantastic performance from the Fijian monster. 12 carries, 86 metres made, three defenders beaten and five offloads. Phenomenal.
Harry Randall (Bristol Bears) – Struggled to dictate the pace of the game and coughed up three turnovers before being replaced for tactical reasons in the first half. Was massively outshone by his opposite number before his early departure.
Harry Randall subbed before halftime for tactical reasons will stiiiiiing. #BRIvEXE— Tom (@Tom___9) August 25, 2020
Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) – The Wales international was bullied in the scrum on his return from injury, coughing up three penalties. Defended okay, but still missed the odd tackle.
Bristol Bears vs Exeter Chiefs player ratings out of 10
Bristol Bears: Piutau 7.5; Morahan 7, Radradra 8, O’Conor 6, Purdy 6; Sheedy 6, Randall 5.5; Lahiff 7, Byrne 6, Sinckler 6, Holmes 6, Attwood 6, Luatua (capt) 6, Thomas 7, Hughes 6.
Exeter Chiefs: Hodge 6; O’Flaherty 7, Dollman 7, Hendrickson 6, Woodburn 6; Steenson 7.5, Hidalgo-Clyne 9, Hepburn 8, Yeandle (capt) 7, Francis 5, Dennis 6, S Skinner 7, Kirsten 8, Armand 7, Lonsdale 9.
Referee: Wayne Barnes 5
The highest paid players at every Gallagher Premiership club
Bath: Taulupe Faletau – £550,000
Bristol Bears: Charles Piutau – £1m
The former All Black full-back or wing, who surprised many by leaving New Zealand before reaching the peak of his powers, has allegedly become British rugby’s first million pound man.
Exeter Chiefs: Stuart Hogg – £500,000
The fullback signed a new deal recently, accepting a slight pay-cut.
Gloucester Rugby: Danny Cipriani – £380,000
The fly-half was on £190,000 to £200,000, which was a relatively modest wage for a player of his calibre and experience. It’s been reported that his new deal is closer to the £400,000 Toulon offered him.
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Harlequins: Mike Brown (£300,000)
The three England stars remain the highest paid players at the Stoop.
Leicester Tigers: Manu Tuilagi – £460,000
with the England centre’s appearances for club Leicester and country sporadic through a variety of ailments.
London Irish: Paddy Jackson – £400,000
The number 10 will reportedly earn more than his ex-international teammate, who’ll also pocket a hefty £350,000 wage packet.
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Newcastle Falcons: Toby Flood – £250,000
Northampton Saints: Dan Biggar – £500,000
Wales’ ‘Governor’ was a catalyst for the Ospreys, being a superb club man and racking up a points record. But he decided to sample life “outside the goldfish bowl” of Wales with a big money offer enticing him to Northampton Saints.
Sale Sharks: Manu Tuilagi – £350,000
The centre took a £100,000 paycut to join the Sharks after leaving Leicester. He is reportedly set to take Tigers to court to recoup his loss of earnings.
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Saracens: Owen Farrell – £750,000
Farrell will remain at the club that he has called ‘home’ since the age of 14 until at least 2022, earning himself a hefty pay-rise in the process. His new deal means he will now earn in excess of £750,000 a season, bringing him in line with some of the highest paid players in the world.
Wasps: Joe Launchbury – £420,000
The England second-row became the clubs highest paid player after extending his contract earlier this season.
Worcester Warriors: Matt Kvesic
The local boy has returned to Sixways following successful stints with Gloucester and Exeter Chiefs.