Fixtures - Top Bar

Match Reaction: Exeter Chiefs 38 Bristol Rugby 34

Mark Tainton hailed the guts and resolve of his Bristol Rugby side after they came within touching distance of a memorable Aviva Premiership Rugby victory at high-flying Exeter Chiefs.

Tries from Jason Woodward, Will Hurrell and Gavin Henson put the visitors in control after they fell behind to an early Olly Woodburn score, but Exeter hit back through Thomas Waldrom, Geoff Parling and Ian Whitten.

Mitch Eadie dotted down with 20 minutes to go as Bristol regained the lead, which they held on to until three minutes from the end, when Waldrom crossed to have the final say for the hosts, who secured a 38-34 win.

Bristol remain bottom of the Aviva Premiership Rugby with the threat of relegation looming, but interim head coach Tainton said he could not have been prouder of the efforts from his players.

“We were minutes away from a famous victory, as the players put in a hell of a shift and our defence was magnificent,” he said.

“When they scored an early try, it looked it could be a long afternoon but I’m frustrated that we didn’t get the win.

“It’s getting more and more difficult to avoid relegation but the boys aren’t going to give in and we are hoping for a big crowd at Ashton Gate next Sunday against Wasps.”

Exeter’s win keeps them second in the table behind leaders Wasps, level on 69 points having played a game more. Saracens remain hot on their heels in third, one point behind.

Chiefs coach Rob Baxter acknowledged his side were not at their fluent best, but heaped praise on a spirited Bristol side that played much better that belied their league position.

“You must give Bristol credit as they snatched every chance they had,” said Baxter.

“It was a tough old game and while there were excellent individual performances from Thomas Waldrom, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Olly Woodburn, we weren’t collectively at our best.

“I felt the last two games (Sale and Bristol) have been no-win games for us and we need an exciting game to challenge us.

“Next Friday we are at Harlequins live on TV and hopefully that will bring the best out of us.”

Exeter Chiefs: Dollman, Nowell (Campagnaro 60), Whitten, Devoto (Steenson 60), Woodburn, Slade, Maunder (Townsend 68), Moon (Rimmer 52), Cowan-Dickie (Yeandle 77), Williams (Holmes 52), M Lees (Parling 39), Hill (Ewers 43), Dennis, Armand, Waldrom.

Bristol Rugby: Woodward, Edwards, Hurrell, Henson, Tovey, Searle, Mathewson (Williams 60), Bevington (O’Connell 36), Jones (Crumpton 56), Cortes (Ford-Robinson 40), Phillips (Glynn 67), Sorenson, Jeffries, Lam (Fenton-Wells 12), Eadie.

Exeter Chiefs 38
Tries: Woodburn, Parling, Whitten, Waldrom (2)
Cons: Slade (4), Steenson
Pens: Slade

Bristol Rugby 34
Tries: Hurrell, Woodward, Henson, Eadie
Cons: Henson (4)
Pens: Henson (2)

Referee: Thomas Foley (England)
Attendance: 12,232

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is on 27 May at Twickenham are now on sale. If you want to have an unforgettable day out at club rugby’s best Cup Final then click here for tickets.

Latest News

AUDIO: Preview of this weekend’s Aviva Premiership action

It's the penultimate round of regular-season matches in the Aviva Premiership this weekend - Russell Hargreaves has the details.

Saracens name side to face Bristol Rugby

Saracens have named their team to face Bristol in round 21 of the Aviva Premiership on Saturday at Allianz Park,…

Schalk Brits

Northampton Saints team news versus Exeter Chiefs

The Northampton Saints team has been named for the Aviva Premiership Round 21 trip to Exeter. Injuries to Louis Picamoles…

JJ Hanrahan

Garvey to start for Bath Rugby in West Country derby

Matt Garvey will make his first start for Bath Rugby since January in the West Country Aviva Premiership derby against…

Matt Garvey

Gloucester Rugby make just one change for trip to Bath

Gloucester Rugby keep faith with the majority of the side that triumphed in La Rochelle last weekend, making just one…

Mariano Galarza

Exeter Chiefs side to face Northampton Saints

Rob Baxter says it’s vital his Exeter Chiefs grasp every opportunity afforded to them as they look to maintain their…

Gareth Steenson

Leicester Tigers team news for final home game

Graham Kitchener and Adam Thompstone will make their 100th starting appearances in a Leicester Tigers shirt in the final home…

Adam Thompstone

Team News for Bristol Rugby to face Saracens

Olly Robinson returns to the starting line-up as Bristol Rugby face reigning Premiership champions Saracens on Saturday (3pm KO). The…

Olly Robinson

Four Changes For Sharks Ahead of Tigers Clash

Sale Sharks have named their side to take on Leicester Tigers this Saturday at Welford Road in the Aviva Premiership…

Josh Charnley

Callum Chick not given up on top-six finish for Newcastle Falcons

Promising Newcastle Falcons flanker Callum Chick hasn't given up on helping his side qualify for a Champions Cup place next…

Jack Singleton still buzzing after baptism of fire at Worcester Warriors

Jack Singleton admits he never expected to get as much Aviva Premiership Rugby game time as he has had this…

Saracens sign Wales international lock Dominic Day

Saracens have completed the signing of Wales international lock forward Dominic Day for the for the upcoming 2017/18 season. 31-year…

Dominic Day

Tom Heathcote extends his stay at Worcester Warriors

Worcester Warriors are delighted to announce that Scotland international Tom Heathcote has put pen to paper on a new contract…

Tom Heathcote

Minimum standards criteria results

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has considered the findings of an independent audit report of the Greene King IPA Championship…

World Rugby welcomes Berlin Consensus Statement on concussion in sport

Expert group publishes comprehensive review of scientific papers on concussion Rugby continues to be aligned with recommended best practice Cross-sport…

Mark Lambert issues rallying call for Harlequins’ top-six push

A third season in a row without top flight European rugby is not an option for a club of Harlequins’…

Gloucester’s Henry Trinder: Top-six place at stake adds to West Country derby

Gloucester will be travelling to The Rec for their West Country derby against Bath in the Aviva Premiership on Sunday…

Henry Trinder

Referee appointments: Barnes, Garner and Doyle all in action

Three of Aviva Premiership Rugby’s most experienced referees will take to the field this weekend as another highly-charged round of…

The Premiership Rugby Final Photographic competition

To mark exactly one month to go to the 15th Premiership Rugby Final, on 27 May, Premiership Rugby are holding a…

Owen Farrell