- Gallagher Premiership
- Saturday, May 8th 2021
- Recreation Ground
Will Carpenter reports from Recreation Ground
Report: Bath Rugby 20-40 Bristol Bears
Saturday, May 8th 2021
Six-try Bristol Bears delivered a scintillating second-half performance to dispatch Bath and secure their place in the Gallagher Premiership play-offs with four rounds remaining.
Pat Lam’s men trailed by 15 points on the half-hour mark after breakaway tries from Anthony Watson and Rhys Priestland, but hit back in devastating style to rack up their record score at The Rec.
Nathan Hughes’ powerful score started the fightback shortly before the half time interval, before a penalty try on 49 minutes reduced the deficit to a single point.
Juan Schoeman was sin-binned and the Bears quickly pounced on the advantage to edge themselves in front – Charles Piutau and Semi Radradra combining to send a sliding Max Malins over in the corner.
The bonus-point arrived 15 minutes from time when Uren fed the sensational Charles Piutau, darting from left to right to touch down, but Bath hit back with a second from Watson, rising highest to claim Priestland’s cross-field kick.
Bath hooker Tom Dunn saw red for a dangerous shoulder charge to the head of Radradra, and from here, the floodgates opened. Ben Earl grabbed a fifth from another well-worked lineout drive, and it was left to Malins to finish with a flourish and complete a derby double for the second successive season.
The Bears were boosted by the return of five frontline internationals, with Earl, Sheedy, Hughes, Siale Piutau and Radradra all included for a West Country derby played in light drizzle throughout.
Fijian flyer Radradra was heavily involved in the early action, releasing Morahan with a deft offload before feeding Charles Piutau for an early score for Malins – or not. Luke Pearce spotted a forward pass in the build-up and it remained scoreless.
At the other end, Bath struck twice against the run of play to establish a commanding lead midway through the first half – Watson pounced on a loose ball to hack forward and touch down, and Priestland snaffled an interception in midfield for a 12-point advantage.
Ben Spencer’s penalty made it 15 on 28 minutes, but the Bears began their fightback on the stroke of half time, as Hughes bundled his way over from a lineout drive that would prove fruitful throughout the afternoon.
The Bears had another score chalked off early in the second period – Hughes touching down from a Sheedy cross-kick, only for play to be called back for a knock-on by Luke Morahan as he was hauled down inches short of the line.
But they weren’t to be denied three minutes later. The Bears’ dominant scrum, led by the outstanding Kyle Sinckler, applied the heat and Bath buckled, with Luke Pearce awarding a penalty try.
Juan Schoeman saw yellow and the visitors began to turn the screw. A deadly triple-threat of Piutau, Radradra and Malins on the short side sent the England man over in the corner – and when full back Piutau darted from left to right to power over, the bonus-point was secure.
Bath hit back with a well-executed cross-kick from Priestland to two-try Watson, but when Dunn was dismissed for an illegal hit on Radradra, Lam’s men weren’t going to pass up the opportunity.
Earl grabbed try number five from a trademark lineout drive and the sensational Malins slid in to complete the rout and a second successive derby double.
Bath: De Glanville; Watson, Clark, Redpath, Muir; Bailey, Spencer; Schoeman, Dunn, Stuart, McNally (c), Stooke, Bayliss, Reid, Faletau.
Replacements: Du Toit, Bhatti, Judge, Ewels, Ellis, Chudley, Priestland, Gray.
Bristol Bears: C Piutau (Lloyd 66); Morahan, Radradra, S Piutau (Leiua 53), Malins; Sheedy (Kessell 74), Uren; Y Thomas (Woolmore 59), Byrne (Kerr 59), Sinckler (Afoa 59), Attwood, Vui, Luatua (c), Earl, Hughes (Heenan 53).
Replacements: Kerr, Woolmore, Afoa, Holmes, Heenan, Kessell, Lloyd, Leiua.
Bath: Tries: Watson 13, Priestland 15, Watson 68. Cons: Spencer 15. Pens: Spencer 28. Yellow: Schoeman 49. Red: Dunn 70
Bristol Bears: Tries: Hughes 37, Penalty 49, Malins 55, 80, C Piutau 64, Earl 74. Cons: Sheedy 37, 55, 64, Lloyd 74
After fighting their way back late in the first half, the Bears began the second at a rate of knots.
Hughes saw his try disallowed, but when the penalty try at the scrum was followed by a yellow card for Juan Schoeman, the Bears took full advantage with a first for Max Malins - and the visitors didn't look back.
Pat Lam reaction
🗣️ "The boys are doing it for all our fans."— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) May 8, 2021
Lam on record win at the Rec 😍 pic.twitter.com/TyOj85xWP8
Man of the match: Kyle Sinckler
An outstanding, dominant display from the England international at The Rec.
Sinckler led the charge at set-piece time, as the Bears' scrum powered past the hosts to seal a derby double.
Social media reaction
In 124 matches played by @BristolBears in Bath since 1889 that is a record score— Neil Williams (@BrisRugStatto) May 8, 2021
It's the perfect time to dig out this classic again 🤣— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) May 8, 2021
UP THE BLOODY BEARS! 🐻 pic.twitter.com/VXKUn2vWAd
- Watson (2), Priestland
- Yellow Cards:
- Red Cards:
- Piutau, Malins (2), Earl, Hughes
- Sheedy (3), Lloyd
- Yellow Cards:
- Red Cards: