The first round of midweek matches in the restarted 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership campaign took place on Tuesday evening in Coventry and Bristol and a moment of brilliance that caught out Semi Radradra at Ashton Gate stood out. 

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English rugby fans had been salivating since last Friday night after Fijian flyer Radradra tore Gloucester asunder with an all-singing, all-dancing attacking performance that left his dull Bears debut versus Saracens the previous weekend quickly forgotten.

More fireworks were expected from Radradra on Tuesday in the meeting between second-place Bristol and table-topping Exeter, but the initial explosion came from an unexpected source.

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England forward Courtney Lawes guests on All Access, the RugbyPass interview series hosted by Jim Hamilton

It was ten years ago when Dollman was part of the Exeter set-up that came to the Memorial Ground and upset Bristol in the Championship play-off final. That secured the Chiefs a first-ever promotion to the Premiership and the Devon club have never looked back, going on to lift the top-flight title in 2017 and consistently challenging for honours. 

Now 35, Dollman is in the twilight of his career and with Exeter making 14 changes from the team that had won at Sale last Friday, the expectation was that they were ripe for a beating at Bristol. Not so. 

It may have taken a converted 76th minute try from replacement Billy Keast to eventually tip the scoreline 25-22 in Exeter’s favour, but the Chiefs were set on the road to that victory with excellence from Dollman 13 minutes into the contest. 

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Bursting onto a pass away from a scrum by Sam Hidalgo-Clyne on the 22, old-timer Dollman glided through the Bristol cover with a snazzy step that Radradra would have been proud of. 

The Fijian did hit back, executing some flair play in the build-up to Piers O’Conor’s second-half try, but the hard running earlier from Dollman was a reminder that the Fijian won’t have everything his own way in the Premiership.    

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