Exeter Chiefs enjoyed a brief spell on top of the Gallagher Premiership after a rousing 24-14 victory at Bristol Bears on Friday.

While the Chiefs were usurped by Northampton, who beat Sale 24 hours later, the quality of their performance on the road, plus a bonus point, will give the Sandy Park side great encouragement for the business end of the season.

A superb crowd of 24,257 at Ashton Gate watched Exeter come flying out of the blocks in the early stages, as Josh Iosefa-Scott and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso both crashed over the line. Bristol responded with tries from Gabriel Oghre and Noah Heward.

After the break, Stu Townsend took advantage of an excellent break from Feyi-Waboso to touch down. Henry Slade missed the conversion but it proved immaterial, as the Chiefs powered to victory.

The gloss on a very shiny victory was added when Jacques Vermeulen bundled through a tired home defence for the bonus-point score.

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon: "If you watch the game, you could see we could have grabbed more control of it really. We gave some soft midfield penalties, it's a bit of the bane of my life as a coach really, but the guys are fighting, they're working hard, they turned up and they worked hard from the off.

"I'd actually said to myself weirdly in the changing room, 'if we didn't let Bristol score in the first 10 minutes, we'd win the game' and that's actually how it transpired.

"We kept them at arm's length, we scored first, we looked like we'd turned up to play, our set piece turned up and that gets you in the game and when you're in the game and you're a good team, anything can happen.

"A five-point win away from home, you can't ask for more really. It keeps us pushing up the table and we're the first game of the weekend, so it pushes pressure onto other people and that's how you want things to go."

The Chiefs host Northampton in a stellar tie this weekend.