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Chiefs hit back to sink Bath


Gareth Steenson kicked eight points in Exeter's win

Gareth Steenson kicked eight points in Exeter's win

Gareth Steenson kicked eight points in Exeter's win

Defending champions Exeter made it two wins from as many matches in the LV= Cup after coming from behind to beat Bath 18-6 in front of a record Sandy Park crowd of 11,785.

Gavin Henson and his opposite number Gareth Steenson exchanged first-half penalties before the former added a second after the break to give Bath a 6-3 lead.

But tries in the final quarter from Carl Rimmer, converted by Steenson, and Moray Low gave the Chiefs back-to-back west country victories to remain top of Pool Four.

Despite having one eye on Friday night's trip to Franklins Gardens to face Aviva Premiership leaders Northampton, Exeter fielded a full strength side and gave a debut to Scotland A international full-back Byron McGuigan.

The visitors made six changes from the side that beat London Welsh 47-7 last weekend with lock Dominic Day back from injury, while full-back Luke Arscott was returning to Sandy Park for his first encounter against his former club.

Former Wales international Henson got the visitors off to a perfect start with a 15-metre penalty from in front of the posts after two minutes. Henson then saw his long range drop goal charged down by Chiefs' skipper Dean Mumm.

Fly-half Henson looked to have set-up Bath for the opening try midway through the half with a neat grubber kick through but new signing McGuigan was on hand to beat outside centre Matt Banahan to the touchdown.

Despite having a number of players away on international duty, it was Bath who were doing all the attacking until the Chiefs came back into the game for the final 10 minutes of the half as they camped out on the Bath line.

But the visitors' defence stood firm and scrum-half Micky Young snatched a loose ball to feed wing Olly Woodbury, who eased the pressure as he kicked the ball into touch deep in the Chiefs half.

Five minutes before the break Bath were penalised for not following away at the tackle just outside their own 22 and fly-half Steenson slotted his kick from out wide on the right to level the scores.

Bath wasted little time getting back into the game after half-time when wing Richard Lane burst through a slack defence only to be stopped just short of the line.

Henson nudged the visitors ahead 13 minutes into the second half with a perfectly struck kick 12 metres inside the Chiefs half and close to the right touchline but saw a second attempt, just inside the opposition half, hit the cross bar.

On the hour mark Exeter won a penalty for a scrum infringement, after Lane knocked-on, and they kicked to the corner. From the catch and drive replacement prop Rimmer crossed the line and Steenson converted.

With less than five minutes to play the Chiefs were again camped out on the Bath line after a steal from flanker Dom Armand.

They battered the visitors' defence until replacement prop Low crossed for his first try for the Chiefs

Steenson's conversion from outside on the left sailed just past the wrong side of the bear upright but he added a penalty from 22 metres out with the last kick off the game.