Rokoduguni breaks Chiefs' hearts
MATCH REPORT: Semesa Rokoduguni broke Exeter Chiefs hearts after his 89th minute try secured a famous 13-10 Bath win at Sandy Park.
Mitch Lees' score from a powerful Exeter driving maul looked to have rescued victory for Chiefs, but Bath's powerful scrum ensured piled on the pressure as the game built to a thrilling crescendo and Rokoduguni added the finishing touched.
George Ford missed two kickable penalties in the first half, while Gareth Steenson knocked over an easy three points to ensure Rob Baxter's men had the slenderest of leads at the break.
Exeter reverted to their traditional strengths for their only try, but it was not enough as Bath moved clear of Leicester Tigers in third place on the Premiership Rugby and only two points behind second-place Wasps.
Ford missed an early kickable penalty from in front of the posts and the sides remained scoreless until the 16th minute when Kahn Fotuali'i was penalised for hands in the ruck and Steenson made no mistake with the easy kick.
The Samoan scrumhalf looked to make amends moments later, tapping quickly from a scrum penalty, but after he was pulled back by Ian Tempest for going too early, Ford again missed a straightforward shot on goal.
Bath had the better of possession for the most part, but an interception late in the first half saw Exeter bombarding the visitors' line only for Dave Lewis to throw two wayward passes that put his side under pressure.
Some superb work at the breakdown from Matt Garvey then releaved the pressure on Bath, as the half ended with a penalty kicked into touch.
Dave Atwood looked to have celebrated his England call-up in emphatic fashion as he powered home from 25 metres immediately at, but Tempest spotted a forward pass and the lock was denied.
It was Ford instead who started the second half on the right foot, putting over a penalty after four minutes, but again both sides saw their build-up play punctuated with handling errors as defence dominated.
England No.10 Ford struck a vital blow with less than 15 minutes to play, kicking a fine penalty to put Bath ahead for the first time.
But when Chiefs' pack started to rumble from a way out with ten minutes left, they looked unstoppable and when Lees bundled over, Sandy Park looked set for a hard-fought Exeter win.
After a series of re-set scrums, Ford almost set Rokoduguni away down the right wing with an accurate tackle, but he was collared and Bath recycled the ball.
Bath refused to wilt and Blackadder watched on as England man Rokoduguni barged through several tackles to silence the Sandy Park crowd before Ford knocked over the conversion.
For Exeter Chiefs:
Pens: Ford 2
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Lachlan Turner, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Henry Slade, 11 James Short, 10 Gareth Steenson(captain), 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Kai Horstmann, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Yeandle, 1 Moray Low.
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Jonny Hill, 20 Ben White, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Sam Hill, 23 Ollie Devoto.
Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Matt Banahan, 11 Aled Brew, 10 George Ford(captain), 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Charlie Ewels, 7 Tom Ellis, 6 Matt Garvey(captain), 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Will Homer, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Jeff Williams.
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant referees: Roger Baileff, Luke Pearce
TMO: David Grashoff