Sam Simmonds double helps Exeter thump Bath

Adam Kyriacou

Reigning champions Exeter moved to the top of the Premiership table with a six-try mauling of Bath at Sandy Park.

The Chiefs’ destruction of the Bath pack was the key to their second bonus-point victory in successive weekends as the hosts ran out 40-3 victors.

Number eight Sam Simmonds, who claimed a hat-trick against Harlequins last time out, scored another two tries, with further scores from Tom O’Flaherty, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Ian Whitten and a penalty try helping Exeter to a big win.

Fly-half Joe Simmonds converted three of the tries, with replacement Jack Walsh adding the extras to another.

Bath’s only score was a penalty from fly-half Rhys Priestland.

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Sam Simmonds continued where he left off in Exeter’s 33-3 thrashing of Quins at The Stoop with his fourth and fifth tries of the season in the first half.

Priestland popped over his 16th-minute penalty when Exeter were accused of a no-arms tackle but the rest of the game was more about how Bath could keep the home forwards from steamrolling them than any chance of competing for the win.

Exeter showed what was to come later when, just after the half-hour, Sam Simmonds got his second score, which brother Joe converted again, before a remarkable try from O’Flaherty.

Joe Simmonds sent over a cross-kick to the left form his own 10-metre line. It was about to land between the halfway line and the Bath 10-metre line but O’Flaherty outrageously volleyed the ball downfield with the outside of his right foot, chased it and just got ahead of Bath wing Ruaridh McConnochie to score an amazing try that Simmonds also converted.

The Chiefs eight had Bath’s pack on the back foot throughout the second half and there was little the visitors could do about it.

Bath were fortunate not to give away a penalty try when the Chiefs drove very near the away line. But, when the same thing happened again from an attacking line-out, this time referee Christophe Ridley ran between the posts for the penalty touchdown and Exeter’s bonus point.

Exeter played to their dominance up front and had a call for a second penalty try as Sam Simmonds looked to touch down.

It was turned down in favour of yet another penalty scrum and, this time, the drive let Hidalgo-Clyne score a simple try with 19-year-old Walsh booting his first points for the Chiefs with the extras.

And there was a last roar by the Chiefs, with Whitten scoring in the corner late on, meaning they have now scored 73 points in two games and conceded just six this season.

In the early game, Danny Care produced a masterclass from scrum-half as Harlequins bounced back from their opening-day mauling at the hands of Exeter with an impressive 49-29 victory at Northampton.

At 33 years old, Care may struggle to add to his 84 England caps, but he showed at Franklin’s Gardens he can still run the show, scoring the first of their six tries and having a hand in three others.

While this was an excellent riposte from Paul Gustard’s side, it continued a disappointing start for Saints, who have now lost their last eight home games in the Premiership.

Joining Care on the try-scoring list for Quins was Nathan Earle, Mike Brown, Alex Dombrandt, Scott Steele and Marcus Smith while Lewis Ludlam (2), Nick Isiekwe and Rory Hutchinson crossed for Northampton.

Bristol Bears secured a hard-fought 30-13 bonus-point victory over a resilient Worcester at Ashton Gate.

Tries from Piers O’Conor, Bryan Byrne, Siale Piutau and a penalty try – along with eight points from the boot of Wales international Ioan Lloyd – was enough to secure Pat Lam’s side their first victory of the Premiership season.

Tom Howe and Marco Mama crossed for Worcester with Billy Searle contributing three points from the kicking tee.

Elsewhere, Billy Twelvetrees scored 20 points as a superb second-half performance from the hosts secured a 40-24 victory over Premiership rivals Wasps at Kingsholm.

Gloucester’s eight were able to dominate against a Wasps’ pack missing England internationals Joe Launchbury and Jack Willis – and were rewarded with five tries.

Jack Singleton, Matt Garvey, Joe Simpson, Jason Woodward and Twelvetrees all crossed for the Cherry and Whites, with captain Twelvetrees adding three penalties and three conversions.

Paolo Odogwu scored two late tries for the visitors. Alfie Barbeary and Michael Le Bourgeois scored the others with Jimmy Gopperth kicking two conversions.