Exeter 21-15 Bath: Chiefs' Champions Cup Dream Lives On As Finn Russell Suffers Injury Blow - Ruck

Exeter 21-15 Bath: Chiefs’ Champions Cup Dream Lives On As Finn Russell Suffers Injury Blow

By Louis Chapman-Coombe

Exeter Chiefs responded to their humiliation in Sale in the best way possible, as they downed West Country rivals Bath 21-15 in front of a packed-out Sandy Park

Tries from Ross Vintcent, Greg Fisilau and Ethan Roots were enough to guide Rob Baxter’s men into the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup, where either Toulouse or Racing 92 lie in wait.

Reflecting on the win, Rob Baxter said: “Fair play to the guys, they’ve responded in the best way possible haven’t they.”

He added: “We were just that bit more ambitious in the second-half, and that allowed us to create the opportunities and get a couple important players into the game, and we created our scores from it. Ultimately, we held on at the end and won a very important game for the club.”

Exeter Chiefs Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter during the Gallagher Premiership match between Exeter Chiefs and Gloucester Rugby at Sandy Park, Exeter on 19th Nov 2023. Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

Exeter came out of the blocks flying and created plenty of early chances. A yellow card to Tom Dunn gifted Exeter an early numerical advantage, but stubborn defence from Van Graan’s kept the Chiefs bombardment at bay.

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors, as playmaker-in-chief Finn Russell limped off the pitch.

This might have seemed ominous for Bath, but it proved the opposite as they opened the scoring through Thomas du Toit. A powerful maul drove the visitors to within inches of the Chiefs line, and du Toit needed no invitation to add the finishing touch. Spencer was unable to add the conversion.

Exeter hit back instantly though, as Ross Vintcent crossed. A mix-up from the kick-off saw the ball bounce into the Italian international’s path, and he scooped the ball up and coasted home for the try. Henry Slade slotted the conversion, giving Exeter a slender advantage.

Ted Hill quickly restored Bath’s lead. Ben Spencer’s box-kick got caught in the wind, and the former Worcester man leapt highest to come down with the ball and gallop home for the try. Spencer added the extras.

With the clock winding down, Exeter piled on the pressure once more. They thought they had crossed the whitewash through Rusi Tuima; however, he was held up in the act of scoring.

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso also threatened the line after a powerful carry, but a heroic defensive effort from Bath kept Exeter at bay and they retained their five-point buffer going into the sheds.

Trench warfare ensued at the start of the second-half, as neither side could get a foothold. A Sam Underhill turnover earned Spencer a chance to grow his personal haul for the day, and he duly accepted as he gave his side three more points with a monstrous kick from the halfway line.

Exeter needed a response to stem the gathering Bath storm, and they got it through Greg Fisilau. The Chiefs pack took it to their Bath counterparts, and despite the best efforts of Tuima and Feyi-Waboso it was Fisilau who got his name up in lights.

Fisilau’s effort swung momentum back towards the hosts, and they eventually regained the lead through Ethan Roots.

A clever grubber kick from Henry Slade pinned Matt Gallagher deep in his own 22, however he was met by the on-chasing Olly Woodburn who dragged the fullback into touch. A nice strike move from the proceeding Exeter lineout saw Exeter march towards the Bath line as they looked for the score. Feyi-Waboso again went close, but it took the mighty effort of Roots to finally break down the stubborn defence. Slade’s conversion was successful, and Exeter were up by six.

With the clock in the red, Bath had one final chance to win it. Sam Underhill produced two mighty turnovers to give his side possession, but just as Will Muir took his position ready for a floated pass, Stu Townsend pounced on the ball. A mele ensued, but Fisilau emerged with the ball and he smacked it out into the roaring Grand Stand to book Exeter’s place in the next round of the Champions Cup.


TRIES: 3 (Vintcent, 23’ Fisilau, 56’ Roots, 66’)

CONVERSIONS: 3 (Slade, 23’ 56’ 66’)





15. Josh Hodge 14. Immanuel Feyi-Waboso 13. Henry Slade 12. Ollie Devoto 11. Olly Woodburn 10. Harvey Skinner 9. Tom Cairns 1. Scott Sio 2. Jack Yeandle 3. Ehren Painter 4. Rusi Tuima 5. Dafydd Jenkins 6. Ethan Roots 7. Christ Tshiunza 8. Ross Vintcent


16. Jack Innard 17. Danny Southworth 18. Marcus Street 19. Lewis Pearson 20. Greg Fisilau 21. Stu Townsend 22. Will Haydon-Wood 23. Zach Wimbush

BATH: 15

TRIES: 2 (du Toit, 21’ Hill, 27’ )

CONVERSIONS: 1 (Spencer 27’)

PENALTIES: 1 (Spencer, 48)


YELLOW CARDS: 1 (Dunn, 4’)


15. Matt Gallagher 14. Joe Cockanasiga 13. Ollie Lawrence 12. Cam Redpath 11. Will Muir 10. Finn Russell 9. Ben Spencer (Captain) 1. Beno Obano 2. Tom Dunn 3. Thomas du Toit 4. Quinn Roux 5. Charlie Ewels 6. Ted Hill 7. Sam Underhill 8. Alfie Barbeary


16. Niall Annett 17. Juan Schoeman 18. Will Stuart 19. Elliott Stooke 20. Miles Reid 21. Louis Schreuder 22. Orlando Bailey 23. Jaco Coetzee



15. Josh Hodge-7

14. Immanuel Feyi-Waboso-9

13. Henry Slade-7

12. Ollie Devoto-7

11. Olly Woodburn-7

10. Harvey Skinner-6

9. Tom Cairns-6

1. Scott Sio- 6

2. Jack Yeandle-6

3. Ehren Painter-6

4. Rusi Tuima-7

5. Dafydd Jenkins-7

6. Ethan Roots-8

7. Christ Tshiunza-8

8. Ross Vintcent-7


16. Jack Innard-6

17. Danny Southworth-6

18. Marcus Street-6

19. Lewis Pearson-6

20. Greg Fisilau-7

21. Stu Townsend-7

22. Will Haydon-Wood-N/A

23. Zach Wimbush-N/A


15. Matt Gallagher-6

14. Joe Cockanasiga-7

13. Ollie Lawrence-6

12. Cam Redpath-7

11. Will Muir-7

10. Finn Russell-6

9. Ben Spencer-7

1. Beno Obano-7

2. Tom Dunn-5

3. Thomas du Toit-6

4. Quinn Roux-6

5. Charlie Ewels-7

6. Ted Hill-7

7. Sam Underhill-8

8. Alfie Barbeary-8


16. Niall Annett-6

17. Juan Schoeman-6

18. Will Stuart-6

19. Elliott Stooke-6

20. Miles Reid-7

21. Louis Schreuder-6

22. Orlando Bailey-6

23. Jaco Coetzee-6