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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Sunday, March 10th 2019

As it happened: Northampton Saints 24-26 Bristol Bears

Ian Madigan's 87th-minute conversion of Piers O'Conor's stoppage time try earned Bristol Bears a bonus-point win at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday afternoon.

Madigan stepped up to land the killer blow as Bristol Bears fought back in the dying seconds to claim a first away win in the Gallagher Premiership this season.

Joe Batley, Jordan Crane and Harry Randall also touched down for Pat Lam's side, who made it back-to-back league wins for the first time this campaign.

Relive all of the action as we dissect the key moments, as they happened, from Saturday's clash.


Batley dives over early on.
Naiyaravoro on the charge.
Randall sprints clear to score.
O'Conor levels the scores late on.
Madigan lands conversion.
Bristol celebrate last-gasp win.

5 minsTRY0-5 – An incredible start from Bristol, as Charles Piutau breaks down the left-hand side and quick hands from Vui sends Batley in to score in the corner. Daniels conversion is wide.

12 mins – Nayaravaro charges through the midfield, but the giant wing drops the ball with line at his mercy after a good tackle from covering Thacker.

14 mins – Daniels breaks clear and gets his head down for the corner, but he’s held up short of the whitewash and Bears force a scrum five metres out in a good attacking position.

16 minsTRY0-12 – And they take advantage of that position with a second try. Morahan and Siale Piutau link up from the scrum to take Bristol within inches, before Jordan Crane crashes over from close range. Luke Daniels converts.

20 minsPEN MISSED – Daniels lines up a penalty from half-way after Bears get nudge on at the scrum, but the wing’s kick fades right.

29 minsTRY5-12 – Saints attack with precision inside the Bristol 22 and after a slick pass from Grayson, Naiyaravoro finishes well in the corner for Saints’ first score. Francis’ conversion is wide.

HT: Northampton Saints 5-12 Bristol Bears
 

45 minsTRY10-12 – Nayaravaro is at it again, breaking down the left and taking a number of defenders with him. After patient attacking play inside the Bristol 22, Grayson picks out Tuala who dives over in the corner.

48 minsTRY17-12 – Double strike from Saints, as Furbank goes over after a powerful surge from Tuala down the right wing. Saints on the charge now. Francis converts.

54 minsTRY17-19 – Bristol hit back in style, and this one is all about O’Conor. It’s more scintillating stuff from the visitors, as the centre steps and breaks beautifully from deep to sends Randall over from 25 metres. Daniels converts.

57 minsTRY24-19 – But back come Saints to edge their way back into the lead. Scrum half Reinach picks off Randall’s pass from the back of the lineout to race in untouched. Francis converts.

73 minsYELLOW – Bristol are awarded a penalty at the maul and as Randall attempts to take it quickly, Reinach tackles him without retreating ten metres and is shown a yellow card. Saints down to 14.

76 minsYELLOW – It’s a second yellow for Saints, as Jamie Gibson is sin-binned for pulling down Bristol maul as it surged towards the line. Big opportunity for Bristol in the closing stages.

77 minsYELLOW – Well, it’s all going on now, as Tom Wood becomes the third player in five minutes to be sent to the bin and Saints are down to 12 men.

80 minsYELLOW – This is mental. Bristol change tact and opt for the scrum, which gets a strong nudge on five metres from the line. But Saints collapse the scrum and Alex Waller is the FOURTH player to be sin-binned. Saints down to 11.

86 minsTRY24-26 – And there it is – a gripping finale concludes with a fourth Bristol try through the outstanding O’Conor, who collects Madigan’s wide pass to scoot over.

The scores are level and it’s all down to the conversion. Madigan steps up amidst a chorus of boos at Franklin's Gardens and fires the touchline conversion through the middle of the posts. Clutch.

Bristol win a Gallagher Premiership thriller.

FT: Northampton Saints 24-26 Bristol Bears