BATH director of rugby Todd Blackadder was left flummoxed by the decisions that saw his players penalised at five scrums inside the first hour of his side's his side's 39-24 Gallagher Premiership defeat to Exeter at the Rec.

It took an hour for the Chiefs to overpower their west country rivals, with Bath leading 19-18 going into the last quarter before the Devon side scored 21 points in as many minutes.

Tries by Dave Ewers, Ian Whitten and Jack Nowell, all converted by fly-half Gareth Steenson who kicked 14 points in all, added to first-half scores from Stu Townsend and Don Armand.

Bath tried desperately to claim a losing bonus point at the death but were left empty-handed. They scored tries through Rhys Priestland and Chris Cook while Freddie Burns kicked a conversion and four penalties.

"Someone's got to have a look at that," said Blackadder, referring to his side's set-piece woes.

"What can I say, apart from we're really disappointed with some of the decision making. It's just really frustrating.

"We've got a good scrum mindset. We're not trying to give away penalties. It will be interesting to see what the review is like."

Blackadder added: "It was a massive arm wrestle and a big step up for us. A couple of little errors turned the game.

"We just didn't convert enough times when we got inside their 22. We didn't put them under enough pressure to be able to score another couple of tries.

"It comes down to decision making at critical times. We did well in the first half. It was a massive step up from where we've been before."

His side face a rejuvenated Toulouse team at the Rec next week. One tactical switch that he might try again is to field Freddie Burns at full-back rather than at fly-half from where Rhys Priestland captained the team against Exeter.

Blackadder said: "I thought Freddie did a really good job and his tactical kicking was brilliant. His goalkicking was exceptional and he gave us another element to our attack."

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter was delighted after his side's bonus point win, which he saw as the ideal dress rehearsal for next week's European Champions Cup opener against Munster.

Baxter said: "We targeted this game as a really good practice. In many ways it was a much better game than the last couple we've been involved with.

"It was a bigger overall challenge. More pressure was put on us with more things we had to face, which Bath did really well today. It was a tough, confrontational, physical - a real game of rugby.

"That will stand us in very good stead, things like: how are we going to get that line-out absolutely crisp? How are we going to not make some of those loose errors, so we don't get a soft yellow card? Those things we do need to talk about because they will come back to hurt us."