Exeter 26-17 Bath: Gareth Steenson scores 16 points as Chiefs win West-Country derby against Bath
Gareth Steenson scored 16 points as Exeter as they overcame Bath 26-17 at Sandy Park
The Chiefs led 16-7 at the break with Amanaki Mafi’s try keeping the visitors in the game
Mafi grabbed a second after the break to bring Bath within touching distance
Kai Horstmann though secured the win with a try for Exeter late on
Gareth Steenson scored 16 points as Exeter made it back-to-back Aviva Premiership wins with a gruelling victory against Bath at Sandy Park on Sunday.
Steenson’s try, four penalties and two conversions took his Premiership tally to over 1,000 points, with his kicks being vital to seeing off a resilient Bath side.
The Chiefs, who ended a two-game losing run with their 22-15 victory over London Irish last Sunday, cemented themselves in second, just three points behind Saracens, as they recorded back-to-back Premiership successes for the first time since late January.
Gareth Steenson knocked over a trio of penalties before converting Ian Whitten’s try to give Exeter a commanding 16-0 lead as the hosts, wind assisted, totally controlled the game for the opening 35 minutes at Sandy Park.
However Bath, who had only lost one of their 11 previous encounters with the Chiefs, sparked into life on the brink of half-time and reduced the deficit through number 8 Amanaki Mafi, who finished off a great lineout drive with Tom Homer converting, 16-7.
The visitors then turned the game completely on its head as Mafi again forced the ball down for a second time just two minutes after the restart following yet another superb lineout drive. Homer again added the conversion to reduce the hosts lead, which had been 16, to just two points.
Bath’s comeback though suffered a major blow after 49 minutes as Max Lahiff, who was warned in the first half, paid the price for his ill-discipline and was sent to the sin-bin after yet another scrum is collapsed.
The visitors nevertheless survived their ten minutes a man down but found themselves further behind when Steenson slotted his fourth penalty of the game after 64 minutes, 19-14.
It all got a bit scrappy as we reach crunch-time with Homer slotting over a penalty with ten minutes remaining to once again reducing the deficit to just two points.
The Chiefs though secured the win late on as a game dominated by the set piece ended the same way with Kai Horstmann forcing the ball down after a huge driving maul.
Steenson converted to take his Aviva Premiership tally to over 1,000 points, securing a 26-17 victory for the Chiefs.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Exeter: Gareth Steenson
Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson (c), 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Don Armand, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Jonny Hill, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Will Hooley, 23 Max Bodilly
Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Leroy Houston, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Max Lahiff
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 David Wilson, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Matt Garvey, 21 Guy Mercer, 22 Jonathan Evans, 23 Max Clark
Date: Sunday, 28 February
Venue: Sandy Park
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell, Paul Dix
TMO: Geoff Warren