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Short inspires Exeter to historic victory

AFP logoAFP 1/01/2017 Thierry Zoccolan

Todd Blackadder, the Bath director of rugby. © David Rogers/Getty Images Todd Blackadder, the Bath director of rugby. James Short scored two late tries to seal a great comeback and secure Exeter's first win at Bath as they ran out 17-11 winners in an enthralling Premiership clash on Saturday.

The 27-year-old wing's brace also helped Exeter to leapfrog their fellow west country opponents in the table as they moved third and inflicted Bath's second successive defeat.

Exeter trail leaders Wasps by eight points after the latter beat Newcastle in a try-filled encounter on Friday 34-30 -- champions Saracens are second, five points off Wasps, but can go back to the top with a bonus-point win over Leicester on Sunday.

Bath had looked to be heading for victory as they led comfortably at half time with a try by England's Fiji-born wing Semesa Rokoduguni and two penalties from George Ford.

However, worryingly for Bath's director of rugby Todd Blackadder, Exeter held them at bay in the second half and aside from Short's telling contributions Irish kicker Gareth Steenson also landed two penalties and a conversion.

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter admitted the half-time talk had been a difficult one to make but had been impressed by how his players shifted the balance of power.

"At half time I was thinking, what can we say to the lads? Bath had total control in most areas," he told BT Sport.

"We had to make a complete attitude shift and slowly that dripped in through the second half.

"It did feel like the momentum of the game shifted our way. The comparison was scary for about 50 minutes and when we managed to shift that balance the balance of the game shifted our way."

Former All Blacks captain Blackadder took the swing around in fortunes in good heart.

"For most of the game we played really well and felt really dominant," he told BT Sport.

"It's a little bit frustrating and that's life, but Exeter took their chances.

"It's one of those games which we knew was massive, that's why we put everything into it.

"The guys really stepped up, we played really well apart from a couple of little moments," added the 45-year-old New Zealander.

Jimmy Gopperth is having a standout year in Wasps colours. © Mark Runnacles/Getty Images Jimmy Gopperth is having a standout year in Wasps colours. New Zealand utility back Jimmy Gopperth extended his lead at the top of the Premiership points scorers charts on Friday playing a pivotal role in Wasps' victory over an obdurate Newcastle side.

Gopperth made an immediate impact after coming on at the beginning of the second half, scoring a try which he converted to give the visitors the lead after trailing 22-21 at the break and they never relinquished it from then on.

The Kiwi ended the match with a tally of 10 points to take his total for the season to 158.

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