Barnes to take charge of Westcountry derby

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International referee Wayne Barnes takes charge of tomorrow's night's Round 17 clash between Bristol Bears and Exeter Chiefs in the Gallagher Premiership. Picture: Getty Images

By Mark Stevens

Wayne Barnes will take charge of the Round 17 clash between the Gallagher Premiership’s top two tomorrow night as leaders Bristol Bears welcome reigning champions Exeter Chiefs to Ashton Gate (7:45pm).

Pat Lam’s side have been in superb form this season, building up a 12-point lead over their nearest rivals as they prepare to do battle in a mouthwatering Westcountry derby.

The Chiefs, however, come into the game on the back of a hugely impressive 43-13 win over Wasps last Saturday and Rob Baxter’s men will be looking to replicate their success of last season, when they defeat the Bears on their own patch 25-22.

That was one of five victories the Devonians have had over the Bears in Premiership Rugby history - and was one of two wins the Chiefs had at Ashton Gate last season, the other being their Heineken Champions Cup Final win over Racing 92.

Tomorrow’s game kicks-off an action-packed weekend for BT Sport and their coverage will start from 7pm on BT Sport 1HD.

Barnes, meanwhile, will oversee the contest along with assistants Paul Dix and Jamie Leahy, while Tom Foley takes on TMO duty.

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