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Exeter Chiefs go top of Premiership with West Country win over Bristol Bears

EXETER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 5: Exeter Chiefs' Tom Wyatt scores his sides third try during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Exeter Chiefs and Bristol Bears at Sandy Park on November 5, 2023 in Exeter, England. (Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)
EXETER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 5: Exeter Chiefs' Tom Wyatt scores his sides third try during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Exeter Chiefs and Bristol Bears at Sandy Park on November 5, 2023 in Exeter, England. (Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)
Exeter Chiefs went top of English rugby’s Premiership table yesterday with a bonus point win over Bristol Bears at Sandy Park.
Exeter Chiefs went top of English rugby’s Premiership table yesterday with a bonus point win over Bristol Bears at Sandy Park. (Photo by Bob Bradford – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Exeter Chiefs went top of English rugby’s Premiership table yesterday with a bonus point win over Bristol Bears at Sandy Park.

With both teams heading into the West Country derby with two wins from four, the winner was set to climb into the top four play-off spots.

Chiefs went ahead early when Ruis Tuima crossed the line before a Callum Sheedy penalty and a converted try for Rich Lane put the Bears ahead.

Lane got two further tries for the visitors as the 30-year-old completed his hat-trick but it wasn’t enough for Bristol as tries by Ehren Painter, Tom Wyatt and Josh Iosefa-Scott gave Exeter Chiefs a 29-21 victory.

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The result sends Rob Baxter’s Chiefs top of the Premiership table –  Harlequins and Sale Sharks also have three wins from four but fewer try and losing bonus points.

Five teams have won half of their four games this season, including London club Saracens and Northampton Saints, while Leicester Tigers have a solitary win. Newcastle Falcons are yet to get off the mark.

Elsewhere in the league Harlequins beat the Falcons 40-12 at the Stoop on Saturday while Saracens toppled the Tigers 32-17.

On Friday night Gloucester suffered their second straight loss with a 24-10 defeat at the hands of Sale.