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'It was a terrible feeling being here 2 weeks ago and coming up short'

By PA
Johann van Graan - PA

Bath boss Johann van Graan described his side’s 26-14 bonus-point victory at Exeter as their best win of the season.

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Exeter had beaten Bath 21-15 in the Champions Cup at Sandy Park a fortnight ago but Van Graan’s men avenged that loss with an impressive victory that sees them take a big step towards securing a Premiership play-off spot.

Alfie Barbeary, Max Ojomoh, Miles Reid and Ben Spencer scored Bath’s tries to leave them in second place in the standings and director of rugby Van Graan was delighted with the performance.

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He said: “It’s our best win of the season as it was a terrible feeling being here two weeks ago and coming up short in a big match.

“It’s a tough place to come as Exeter don’t lose here. We haven’t won here since 2016 so we had to put in a performance for the whole 80 minutes.

“Following the defeat here last time, we made one or two changes in selection and tactical calls.

“Being second, we are in a good position but we have to take everything week by week and give Saracens the respect they deserve ahead of next Friday’s fixture but the important thing is that we are still improving.”

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Turnovers

1
Turnovers Won
5
15
Turnovers Lost
13

Olly Woodburn and Stu Townsend touched down for Exeter’s tries but defeat keeps them in sixth spot – nine points behind Bath – and facing an uphill task to reach the play-offs, with a home fixture against Harlequins and trips to Leicester and Gloucester still to come.

Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter said: “We are not completely out of it but now we definitely have to win all three games. We came up short today but we are still knocking on the door.

“Unlike the European game, Bath made things go their own way today by 100 per cent capitalising on every error and some of their last-ditch defence was tremendous.

“I’m disappointed as we could have played better. We were a little error-strewn and weren’t focused in the right areas.

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“They got under our skin in the first half by staying in our faces and we got distracted as at one stage, the penalty count was 7-2 against us with four or five of those penalties being needless and silly interactions.”

Baxter, whose side were heavily beaten by Toulouse in the Champions Cup quarter-finals last weekend, added: “Obviously having to play two European games and this one with a short turnaround took its toll on a basically young side, which has little or no experience in coping with that scenario.”

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