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Match reaction: Bristol Rugby 17 Exeter Chiefs 41

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Olly Woodburn’s first two tries of the season earned high praise from Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter, as he was named man of the match in their Aviva Premiership Rugby win over Bristol Rugby.

After opening the season with two losses, Chiefs now have racked up consecutive bonus-point victories after Woodburn’s double was added to by two from Thomas Waldrom and a single from Sam Hill.

Chiefs ran out 41-17 victors at Ashton Gate but Baxter was not entirely happy with his side’s performance, after they allowed Bristol to score three tries of their own.

There is definitely a sense of frustration that we allowed Bristol that many points,” said Baxter.

“The one thing we said in the changing rooms, when the boys walked in a little underwhelmed, was to get your heads up, get your chests out.

“But at the same time, let’s also be honest that there’s a little bit of steel we could’ve shown to keep it down to ten points, possibly less, that we really need to make sure is right at the forefront of our performances.

“It doesn’t feel like we’re quite edgy enough to deny a team anything – it was a little bit pretty, we thought we’ll get the ball back in a minute and possibly score another one.

“I don’t really like that. It happens, it’s human nature, but it’s something we’re going to have a good talk about on Monday.

“But I thought Olly was absolutely outstanding. It wasn’t just the strength of his carrying, some of his high ball competition was just top draw.

“It’s one of the toughest skills in rugby, to be chasing flat out and plucking the ball out of the air, but he was strong and almost flawless.

“He’s just looking better and better, the more game time he gets, the better he’s looking.”

And while Baxter had mixed emotions after victory, Bristol boss Andy Robinson was not pleased by his side’s performance, despite tries from Jordan Williams, Ross McMillan and Max Crumpton.

The loss is Robinson’s side’s fourth of the season, leaving them with a single bonus point from their first campaign back in the Aviva Premiership.

“Credit to Exeter and the way that they have played the game,” said the former England boss.

“They were pretty accurate in those first 20 minutes, to get ahead on the scoreboard, and played with real pace, real physicality and accuracy and they are a difficult side to defend against when they are playing like that.

“We asked the boys to bring some energy and some physicality this week, and I think we did that.

“But now it’s being able to keep your head when the bombs are going off, when hits are going in, and to be able to make clear decisions.

“That’s where I thought Exeter were excellent. The way they attacked our ones and twos around the ruck, for Woodburn to score the second try, was outstanding, and they did it again late on to score their final try.

“So it’s important for us to keep working hard, but also we’ve got to keep our heads as the plays are going on.”

 

Bristol Rugby: Williams, Edwards, Hurrell, Palamo, Varndell (Amesbury 1-12, 48), Pisi, Cliff (Roberts, 64, Jarvis 79), Traynor (Tonga’Uiha 60), McMillan (Crumpton 60), Cortes (Ford-Robinson 60), Phillips, Sorenson, Fisher (Joyce 64), Lam, Crane (Eadie 48)

Tries: Williams, McMillan, Crumpton

Cons: Williams

 

Exeter Chiefs: Turner, Woodburn, S Hill (Devoto, 57-65), Slade (Short, 68), Whitten, Steenson, Chudley (Lewis, 76), Hepburn (Moon 54), Cowan-Dickie (Yeandle 54), Holmes (Williams 54), Lees, Welch (Parling 60), Dennis, Salvi (Horstmann 67), Waldrom

Tries: Woodburn (2), Waldrom (2), S Hill

Cons: Steenson (5)

Pens: Steenson (2)

Yellow card: Whitten

 

Referee: Tom Foley

Attendance: 15,065

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