Much against expectations and given that they only led by 9-6 from the home leg Exeter Chiefs can be justifiably pleased with the manner of their elevation to Premier Rugby for the first time in their history.This is the first time that a place in the Premiership has been decided by a play-off. And the RFU Management Board had already revealed earlier in the day that both Bristol, relegated from the top flight a year ago, and Exeter had already met the authorities’ Minimum Standards criteria.
In a tight encounter Exeter thundered into Bristol at all phases and took advantages of infringements to move into a 0-6 lead and 6-15 aggregate before a Luke Arscott try converted by Tom Arscott put them 7-6 ahead. That was as good as it got for the home side as Gareth Steenson continued to torment them with the boot taking us in to half-time at 7-15 (13-24).
The second period and Exeter continued to have the better of the breakdown and set plays and edged further ahead thanks to the boot of Steenson. To close proceedings Simon Alcott went over for a late try giving us the final score of:
Bristol 10-29 Exeter (Exeter win 38-16 on aggregate)
Tries: L Arscott Conversions: T Arscott Penalty: Jarvis
Tries: Alcott Penalties: Steenson 6 Drop Goals: Steenson 2
By Phil Tuckett
At the Memorial Stadium
Bristol: L Arscott, Robinson, Eves, Fatialofa, T Arscott, Jarvis, Spice, Irish, Blaney, Thompson, Montagu, Winters, Grieve, Pennycook, Phillips.
Replacements: Hayes, Vunipola, Barry, Merriman, Alford, Giddens, Adams.
Exeter: Foster, Jess, Sestaret, Dollman, McKenzie, Steenson, Thomas, Sturgess, Clark, Tui, Hayes, Hanks, Slade, Scaysbrook, Baxter.
Replacements: Alcott, Budgen, Gannon, Johnson, Stuart-Smith, Gray, Cornwell.
Referee: Andrew Small (RFU).