Exeter 26-17 Bath

Ian Whitten

Exeter’s win was their second in the Premiership over Bath in 12 meetings

Exeter Chiefs cemented their position in second place in the Premiership with a narrow win over Bath.

Ian Whitten crossed after James Short’s excellent deep break and three Gareth Steenson penalties put Exeter 16-0 up.

Bath responded on the stroke of half-time when Amanaki Mafi touched down at the back of a driving maul.

Japan number eight Mafi scored again as the visitors got to within two points but a late try from Kai Horstmann secured Chiefs’ victory.

It takes Rob Baxter’s side to within three points of leaders Saracens, who could only draw at Sale on Saturday.

In front of a sell-out crowd at Sandy Park, Irish fly-half Steenson, who also struck two penalty attempts against the post, passed 1,000 Premiership points with his personal haul of 16.

Chiefs forward Dave Ewers played an hour after 12 games out with a knee injury, in his first match since he was included in Eddie Jones’ first England squad.

Last season’s Premiership finalists Bath, who have now won just one of their last nine games, remain ninth and their top-six hopes look slim.

Exeter: Dollman; Woodburn, Whitten, Hill, Short; Steenson (capt), Lewis; Moon, Cowan-Dickie, Williams, Atkins, Parling, Ewers, Armand, Waldrom.

Replacements: Yeandle, Hepburn, Brown, Stevenson, Horstmann, Chudley, Hooley, Bodilly.

Bath: Homer; Rokoduguni, Banahan, Eastmond, Agulla; Hastings, Cook; Lahiff, Batty, Thomas, Hooper (capt), Day, Houston, Louw, Mafi.

Replacements: Dunn, Auterac, Wilson, Ewels, Garvey, Mercer, Evans, Clark.

Referee: Greg Garner.

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