Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

Exeter has taken the lead in the Premiership after scoring a late try by Vermeulen to defeat Bristol.
Rugby union Sport

Exeter has taken the lead in the Premiership after scoring a late try by Vermeulen to defeat Bristol.

The Chiefs claimed the top spot in the Premiership by defeating West Country rivals Bristol 24-14 at Ashton Gate. In front of a crowd of 24,200, they outscored their opponents 4-2 in tries and secured a bonus point with a late touchdown from flanker Jacques Vermeulen.

For a large portion of the match, it was a close and uncertain battle. However, Exeter managed to stay calm and collected when it truly counted, especially when they were in striking distance of Bristol’s goal line. Exeter’s prop Josh Iosefa-Scott, wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, and scrum-half Stu Townsend all scored tries, with Henry Slade adding two successful conversions.

Bristol responded with tries from Gabriel Oghre and Noah Heward, with Callum Sheedy kicking two conversions, but it proved another frustrating 80 minutes for Pat Lam’s team. Exeter are likely to lose top spot after the weekend’s games, but their status as genuine title playoff contenders cannot be questioned.

Unfortunately, the hosts were missing key forwards Ellis Genge, Harry Thacker, and Fitz Harding due to injuries. Meanwhile, Exeter made several alterations to their lineup from their previous victory over Leicester, with lock Rusi Tuima and flanker Ross Vintcent earning starting spots.

The Exeter team quickly gained momentum and scored in the seventh minute after consistently pressuring Bristol within their own 22. Iosefa-Scott charged over and Slade successfully converted. However, Bristol responded within five minutes by executing a lineout drive near the goal line, resulting in Oghre scoring and Sheedy converting. Both teams’ forwards displayed impressive skills throughout the match.

Despite nine penalties being called by referee Christophe Ridley in the first quarter, the game showed a strong attacking mentality with an impressive second try from Exeter. Smooth passing allowed for Olly Woodburn to make a sharp angle towards the attack, and Feyi-Waboso, a potential member of Wales’s Six Nations team, finished with excellence, giving Exeter a 12-7 lead.

The Exeter prop Josh Iosefa-Scott looks to force his way through against Bristol

The head coach of England, Steve Borthwick, watched as Bristol took the lead for the first time with only three minutes left in the first half. Despite Exeter’s strong defense, a lineout attempt was stopped, but the ball was passed to Heward who easily bypassed some questionable defending by the Chiefs and scored out wide.

Sheedy’s kick from the touchline put Bristol in the lead by two points going into halftime, as they aimed for their third consecutive win in the Premiership after beating Gloucester and Newcastle.

Ignore the newsletter advertisement and continue.

However, Feyi-Waboso’s agile running posed a challenge for the Bristol defense. He played a crucial role in Exeter’s third try, which came from their first offensive play after halftime. The 21-year-old maneuvered his way close to Bristol’s goal line, and although he was stopped just shy of scoring, his quick thinking led to an easy finish for Townsend.

However, Townsend quickly made a mistake by intentionally knocking the ball, resulting in him being penalized. Despite having one less player on the field, Bristol was unable to capitalize on the situation and Exeter maintained a three-point lead until the 60th minute.

The latter half of the game was a slower and more physical battle compared to the first half, as both teams focused on defense. In the end, Exeter delivered the final blow as Bristol began to tire. Despite having chances to attack, the home team was unable to capitalize and Exeter took control, with Vermeulen scoring a try in the final minutes and Slade converting for a total of five points. This secured a maximum score for the Chiefs.

Source: theguardian.com