- The Championship
- Friday, April 13th 2018
- Ashton Gate
Will Carpenter reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol Rugby 68-10 Doncaster Knights
Friday, April 13th 2018
Bristol Rugby celebrated their return to the top flight in scintillating style, as Luke Morahan’s quartet of tries fired Pat Lam’s men to an emphatic 68-10 victory over Doncaster Knights in front of a bumper crowd at Ashton Gate.
The Australian wing – celebrating his 28th birthday - crossed twice in either half as Bristol saved their best until last at Ashton Gate with an enthralling performance in their final home game of the 2017/18 campaign.
Soane Tonga’uiha, Gaston Cortes and Siale Piutau accompanied Morahan’s first-half brace, as the hosts took a commanding 35-3 lead into the break.
Morahan completed his hat-trick early in the second half, minutes after sending Sam Jeffries over for Bristol’s sixth – and after Rhodri Williams and Alapati Leiua had got themselves on the scoresheet, Morahan picked off a late interception to canter in for his fourth two minutes from time, to cap an incredible display from the GKIPA Championship winners.
Ian Madigan’s remarkable kicking form continued with nine successful kicks out of nine from the division’s leading points scorer.
Lesley Klim crossed for a late consolation for Doncaster, to follow Dougie Flockhart’s first-half penalty, but that was as good as it got for Clive Griffiths’ side, as Bristol Rugby celebrated their immediate return to the Premiership in sensational style.
David Lemi led out Bristol Rugby alongside his three sons ahead of his final appearance for the club. There was to be no fairytale try-scoring ending for the Samoan, but he would bow out with a memorable victory in front of a crowd of more than 13,000 at Ashton Gate.
Bristol made a flying start to proceedings when, as early as the second minute, Gaston Cortes rumbled over from a driving lineout on his final home appearance for the club.
Doncaster hit back two minutes later with a penalty from Dougie Flockhart, but that was as good as it got in the opening 40 for Clive Griffiths’ side, as the hosts hit top gear at Ashton Gate.
Morahan collected a perfectly-judged pass from Rhodri Williams to touch down for his first on 22 minutes, before Soane Tonga’uiha went over in rather fortunate circumstances, collecting a deflected fly-hack to score in the corner.
Morahan’s second was a work of art, as the Australian stepped and swerved his way through Doncaster defence before adding the classiest of finishes shortly after the half-hour mark.
Rhodri Williams came close to scoring Bristol’s fifth but spilled the ball just inches from the whitewash, after another dazzling break from the scrum-half. But Siale Piutau made no such mistake three minutes later, scooping up a loose ball just metres from the Knights line before adding a simple finish.
The blitz continued after the break, as Piutau’s flat pass put Morahan in the clear, and the supporting Rhodri Williams fed Sam Jeffries for the hosts’ sixth of the evening.
Number seven saw Morahan complete his hat-trick with a trademark dive into the corner, before the two Williams – Rhodri and Jordan – combined to send the former under the posts as Bristol soared past the 60-point mark with ten minutes left to play.
Lesley Klim picked a neat line before shaking off the attention of two Bristol defenders to score Doncaster’s first and only try of the evening – but it was the champions who would have the final say, as Morahan picked off an interception on the halfway line to cruise in untouched and cap a compelling evening at Ashton Gate.
On an action-packed and entertaining evening, it was Bristol Rugby's blitzkrieg opening 30 minutes that set the tone for one of the most impressive performances of the season.
Gaston Cortes' second-minute try was followed by Luke Morahan's quick-fire double and a fortunate score from Soane Tonga'uiha, before Siale Piutau capped an outstanding first-half from Pat Lam's side.
Man of the match: Luke Morahan
Who else? This was an absolute masterclass from the Australian wing, who lit up Ashton Gate on the most appropriate of occasions.
Morahan opened his account his poachers finish in the right-hand corner, before showcasing pace, power and a nose for the try-line with an sensational 50-metre effort.
He completed his hat-trick with an acrobatic dive into the corner, before rounding off a superb individual, and team, performance with his fourth and Bristol's tenth in the dying minutes.
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Bristol Rugby: J Williams; Morahan, Leiua, Piutau (Sheedy 56), Lemi (co-capt) (Uren 76); Madigan (Tovey 69), R Williams; Tonga’uiha (Bevington 49), Fenton-Wells, Cortes (Lay 48), Joyce, Holmes, Jeffries (Haining 44), Graham (Capon 70), Crane (co-capt).
Replacements: Capon, Bevington, Lay, Haining, Uren, Sheedy, Tovey.
Doncaster Knights: Cowell, Flockhart, Clark, Hayes, Lewis, Foley, James (Heaney 64), List, Hunter (Langdon 50), Quigley, Challinor (Batt 64), Civetta, Shaw, Ram, Tyrell.
Replacements: Langdon, Evans, Sproston, Batt, Klim, Heaney, Humberstone.
- Tonga'uiha, Cortes, Jeffries, Williams, Piutau, Leiua, Morahan (4)
- Madigan (8), Sheedy
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