Bath have won against their West Country rivals in the derby which has demonstrated that they are serious Aviva Premiership contenders. Bath finished the first half of the regular league season as second, after Northampton, who secured the leadership, after their victory over Harlequins.

The Chiefs, not so long ago league leaders themselves, were buoyed by their recent victories over heavyweight opposition Northampton and Saracens and came to Bath with high expectations. However, it was Ford's men who hit them and secured a win with a precious bonus point, which could prove vital at the end of the season.

Bath had a brilliant run and have now won seven matches in a row in all competitions; two weeks ago they defeated Montpellier in the European Heineken Cup, and a week ago Gloucester in the Aviva Premiership.

And again, Bath had an impressive display from their forward line, with Hooper, Houston and Louw, which enabled their back line to cut Exeter to shreds.

The hosts had the lead at half-time with Agulla, Eastmond and replacement lock Dave Attwood scored Bath's earlier tries, but the Chiefs' Jack Nowell levelled to 14:14 soon after the break. From this moment onwards, Bath were superior; George Ford kicked four conversions and a penalty for Bath, while centres Kyle Eastmond and Jonathan Joseph played smooth by using angle for the runs of Matt Banahan, Horacio Agulla and Anthony Watson who played brilliantly.

When Exciter went down to 14 men, Watson used the extra space, and only two minutes before the end, scored the home team's fourth try.

It would have been an injustice if Bath would not have claimed a bonus point as their dominance was obvious in the final 20 minutes of the match.

After this win, which put Bath in a really good place, their head coach Mike Ford has given the players three days off, before they resume with their training for the second half of the league season.

Ford is obviously pleased with Bath's progress and prospects: last week Ford announced the signing of the Fijian scrum-half Nikola Matawalu, while the management are working hard to persuade Duane Vermeulen, the South Africa international and a world player of the year nominee, to join.