Bristol 22-25 Exeter: Premiership leaders move 11 points clear

Bristol 22-25 Exeter: Billy Keast delivers knock-out blow with late try as Chiefs move 11 points clear at the top of the Premiership

  • A much-changed Exeter side led 15-0 before the break at Ashton Gate
  • But the Bears replied with 17 unanswered points either side of the interval
  • Keast touched down in the closing seconds to secure victory for the Chiefs

Bristol may have played all their shining lights but were left seeing stars as Exeter’s second-string boxed clever to extend their commanding lead at the top of the Premiership.

Welsh starlet Ioan Lloyd thought he had won it for the Bears with a try 10 minutes from time but Exeter prop Billy Keast delivered the knock-out blow on the bell.

The Chiefs had led 15-3 at half-time, thanks to tries from Phil Dollman and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne before Semi Radradra sprinkled his stardust to set up scores for Piers O’Conor and Luke Morahan.

Phil Dollman and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne went over as Exeter surged into a 15-3 first-half lead

Exeter were never beaten, though, and now lead the league by 11 points.

Semi who? The Fijian superstar may be the talk of the league, but it was veteran Phil Dollman, at 35, who carved up to score the first try beating four including Radradra to score a sensational opener straight off a scrum.

Then from another set-piece Exeter snuck down the blind side – Hidalgo-Clyne acrobatically scoring after a strong surge up the line from Woodburn.

The Chiefs were leaving Bristol in their rear-view mirror on the road to Twickenham, and Gareth Steenson hit a penalty to add to his earlier conversion to extend Exeter’s lead.

Starlet Ioan Lloyd thought he had won it for the Bears with a try 10 minutes from time

All the Bears could manage before half-time was a solitary penalty from Callum Sheedy.

But then, the comeback. After the break the Bears were a different beast. Radradra started motoring and helped assist tries for O’Conor and Morahan.

Sheedy had missed an earlier penalty but his conversions put Bristol in front for the first time after 53 minutes.

Steenson nudged Exeter back ahead with a penalty before Ben Earl found 19-year-old Lloyd on the right and he dance through to score – aided somewhat by Woodburn injuring himself in trying to stop him.

That might have been curtains for Chiefs, but when Keast biffed over they had sprung from the ropes. 

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