A spirited Bristol Bears signed off their Premiership Cup campaign with defeat at Sandy Park, as Exeter Chiefs booked their place in the knockout stages of the competition.
First-half tries from Jack Bates and Tom Pincus were cancelled out by a strong Chiefs outfit, as they wrapped up the bonus point by half-time to lead 28-12 at the break.
Jonny Hill, Jack Maunder, Sam Simmonds and Harry Williams all went over from close range inside the opening 40 minutes, before Dave Dennis’ effort midway through the second half put Rob Baxter’s side into a commanding position.
Will Capon grabbed Bristol’s third to take them within a score of the bonus point, but it was Chiefs who had the final say through Marcus Street to take the spoils in Devon.
“It’s been a hug effort in pre-season and I’m really pleased where we are as a squad,” said Bristol Bears director of rugby Pat Lam.
He added: “I can’t fault the effort today. We said in the changing room that we knew what was coming if we make errors in discipline and at at half-time there were no surprises.
“Overall I’m pleased. And we’re pleased now to start the Premiership with Bath at home. Looks like there’s going to be a record crowd and it’s going to be a great occasion.”
Main photo of Tom Pincus’ first-half try by JMP
Read more: Breakfast With Bristol24/7: Pat Lam