A tight 13-10 victory at a rain-soaked Recreation Ground was set up by hooker Tom Dunn’s try on the stroke of half-time after Exeter dominated the first half.
Ewels said afterwards: “The result looks great but it’s all about the performance. I can take losing in this league but it was more the manner of the performance last week. We didn’t show what we are about. We didn’t compete, make our tackles and all those things.
“That’s what we did tonight, though. In weather like tonight, those qualities are accentuated. It’s a real scrap. We came out on top in a battle – that was really, really pleasing.
“There were a number of things about tonight. Being back in front of our fans. A lot of them would have been over in Bristol last week and we owed it to them. This is a very competitive league. If you don’t compete and you don’t perform, you’re not going to win. We owed it to our fans – and we owed it to ourselves.”
(Continue reading below…)
Jonny Hill’s try and Joe Simmonds’ penalty put Exeter 10-3 up but Dunn’s score and Rhys Priestland’s second penalty sealed the victory. Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter said: “It’s always important to give the other team credit. I thought we had a real handle on it until just before half-time. I actually felt the lads were in the right place.
“But, from the last couple of minutes of the first half, the story was about Bath really maintaining their discipline and ours unravelling a bit. The high tackle laws are what they are. If you tackle people around the head, you’ll give away penalties.
“It’s rare that I have a little bit of a go at the team but, in an odd kind of way, we almost decided to lose that game. Whether it’s stubbornness or an inability to adapt on the night, we continued to do similar things to hurt ourselves. That said, a (bonus) point away from home is a par performance, but we have got to aim to be above par.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 25, 2019
On Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg’s debut, Baxter said: “I thought he was good, considering it was his first game. There were a couple of times when he counter-attacked when he should have just kicked. There was one kick that went out on the full but otherwise, on a night like this…
“He’s done only a handful of training sessions and to look assured and so comfortable, I was pleased with that. It wasn’t a night for stellar breaks and things like that but he was the guy that gave us the momentum for our try. I’m not disappointed with any one player but I am frustrated that we didn’t tackle low and force errors.”
– Press Association
WATCH: Jim Hamilton previews World Cup semi-final weekend in the latest episode of Don’t Mess With Jim
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.