- The Championship
- Saturday, March 17th 2018
- Clifton Lane
Will Carpenter reports from Clifton Lane
Report: Rotherham Titans 3-24 Bristol Rugby
Saturday, March 17th 2018
Bristol Rugby battled extraordinary arctic conditions to beat a spirited Rotherham Titans 24-3 at Clifton Lane in a remarkable GKIPA Championship match that, at one point or another, looked unlikely to be completed.
With a substantial blizzard encompassing much of the 80 minutes, Ian Madigan’s masterful 14-point haul and second-half tries from Ryan Edwards and Luke Morahan earned the league leaders a 17th win of the season in South Yorkshire.
The heavy snowfall prompted half-time discussions between both sides and the match officials – but after the decision was made to continue, Pat Lam’s men added to Madigan’s two first-half penalties with well-worked scores from the back-three duo to take four points from an astonishing afternoon.
After a pre-match flurry, the game began in relatively settled weather conditions, with Madigan’s second-minute penalty giving Bristol an early lead.
But the snow soon returned – and in some style – with a heavy blast severely limiting visibility across the ground.
Titans looked to have hit back immediately, driving towards a barely detectable try line from five metres out - but as the drive gained momentum, the radar went awry as the hosts grounded the ball over the dead-ball line.
The twenty minutes that followed were verging on the ridiculous, as the blizzardous conditions rolled in. When they temporarily subsided, Madigan knocked over his second penalty of the afternoon to double the visitors’ lead, before Rotherham’s Caolan Ryan saw his effort come up short on the stroke of half-time.
After brief discussions between coaches and officials, the game continued into a second 40 minutes despite the relentless snowfall – and Bristol took full advantage early in the half, as Ryan Edwards rounded off a neat handling move on the right-hand side to touch down on his first league appearance of the season.
Madigan’s touchline conversion drifted wide, but after Ryan had got Rotherham on the scoreboard, the fly-half made no mistake 14 minutes later, landing his third and then fourth penalties to extend Bristol’s lead to 14 points with seven minutes remaining.
Luke Morahan rounded off a unique afternoon with a score three minutes from time, latching on to Madigan’s kick ahead to touch down for Bristol’s 100th try in the GKIPA Championship this season, and cap a gritty display on the road.
Bristol led just 6-0 at half-time - and with the conditions so treacherous, the game was finely-poised. But Ryan Edwards' 46th-minute try gave Pat Lam's side some breathing space, diving over after neat handling from Madigan, Piutau and Leiua, to cap his first league appearance of the season in style.
Man of the match: Ian Madigan
This was a masterclass from the Irish fly-half, who controlled the game with all the class and experience of a man with international experience.
Madigan was exemplary from the kicking tee, landing four penalties and a conversion to fire his side to a hard-fought victory on the road.
In testing conditions, the former Leinster man provided a delightful assist for Luke Morahan's 77th-minute try, threading through a beautifully weighted kick for the Australian to dive upon.
Photo of the match:
Social media post of the day:
Bristol Rugby: Morahan, Lemi, Leiua, Piutau; Madigan, Williams; Tonga’uiha, Harris-Wright, Cortes, Joyce, Latta, Jeffries, Thomas, Crane (c).
Replacements: Fenton-Wells, Dawe, Lay, Haining, Uren, Sheedy, Tovey.
Rotherham Titans: Thomas, Foley, Barker, Jennings, Henry, Ryan, Davies; Williams, Cole, Foster, Louw, Peters, Grange, Maddison, Calladine (c).
Replacements: Dolly, T Williams, Palmer, Postlethwaite, Cooke, Millar, Carter.
- Yellow Cards:
- Edwards, Morahan
- Madigan (4)
- Yellow Cards: