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Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter writes

Posted Sunday, April 4th 2021

Report: Bordeaux Bègles 36-17 Bristol Bears

Bristol Bears’ Heineken Champions Cup journey came to an end at Stade Chaban-Delmas on Sunday, as Bordeaux ran in three second half tries to book their place in the last eight of the competition.

Henry Purdy’s sixth-minute try and three Callum Sheedy penalties had given Pat Lam’s side a 9-14 lead with 30 minutes played, but Matthieu Jalibert’s fourth and fifth successful kicks of the opening period edged the hosts into a half-time lead they would not relinquish.

The France fly-half darted over for his side’s first try early in the second half, with referee Mike Adamson awarding the score via the TMO, while at the other end, Purdy saw his second of the afternoon chalked off for a knock on as he attempted to ground the ball.

Sheedy narrowed the gap with his fourth penalty and the Bears were given a let-off when Jalibert squandered a simple chance to the right of the posts.

Kane Douglas then saw yellow for Bordeaux, but as the Bears looked to capitalise on their numerical advantage, Joseph Dweba went over, with the try eventually awarded following a long TMO referral for what appeared to be a knock-on by Scott Higginbottom as the visitors attacked inside the Bordeaux 22.

Cazeaux replaced Douglas in the sin bin for a shoulder charge at the ruck, but replacement Nans Ducuing intercepted and raced clear to seal Bordeaux’s passage into the quarter finals.


What happened?

In glorious sunshine in south west France, the Bears made a near perfect start, as a well-worked set-piece play saw Piutau release Purdy in the left-hand corner for the game’s opening score.

Jalibert hit back with a penalty after Dan Thomas was penalised for offside at the breakdown, but the Bordeaux number ten saw his effort cancelled out by his opposite number, as Sheedy stepped up to land a long-range effort.

The theme continued as the two fly halves traded kicks, before Sheedy’s third of the half opened up a five-point lead.

Not for long though, as Jalibert nailed two further penalties in quick succession to edge Bordeaux into a one-point lead at the interval.

Immediately after the break, the outstanding Jalibert grabbed his side’s first try of the afternoon, stepping and stretching to the line. It was initially ruled held up but following a long TMO consultation, Bordeaux were eight points clear.

The Bears responded well and looked to have pulled a score back when Piutau released Purdy for the second time in the match. The wing did well to break the first tackle but was unable to hang on as he crossed the whitewash.

Sheedy pulled three points back and Jalibert was uncharacteristically off target – and when Douglas paid the price for a string of Bordeaux infringements, the Bears were eyeing a route back into the game.

Then came the game’s turning point. Randall’s pass to Radradra went to ground and when Bordeaux raced clear, Dweba sliced through to go under the posts. The referee sent it to the TMO for a possible knock-on during the Bears attack, but the try was awarded and the home side had one foot in the next round.

Dougles returned from the sin bin to be replaced by Cazeaux for a shoulder charge into the ruck, but Ducuing picked off Vui’s pass to sprint clear and seal victory for Christophe Urios’ men.

Bordeaux-Begles: Buros; Moefana, Uberti, Lamerat, Lam; Jalibert, Lucu; Poirot, Maynadier, Cobilas, Cazeaux, Marais, Woki, Petti, Higginbotham
Replacements: Dweba, Paiva, Kaulashvili, Douglas, Roumat, Lesgourgues, Seuteni, Dulcuing.

Bristol: C Piutau; Morahan, Radradra, Leiua (O’Conor 46), Purdy; Sheedy (c), Uren (Randal 59)l; Y Thomas (Lahiff 50), Byrne (Capon 59), Sinckler (Afoa 50), Attwood (Holmes 62), Joyce, Vui, Thomas, Hughes (Earl 46).
Replacements: Capon, Lahiff, Afoa, Holmes, Earl, Randall, Bedlow, O’Conor.

Bordeaux-Begles: Tries: Jalibert 45, Dweba 71, Ducuing 80. Cons: Jalibert 45, Lucu 71, 80. Pens: Jalibert 10, 16, 22, 34, 39. Yellow: Douglas 68, Cazeaux 78

Bristol Bears: Tries: Purdy 6. Pens: Sheedy 14, 18, 27, 56


Key moment

Straight after Jalibert had found his way to the line for Bordeaux's opening try, Henry Purdy looked to have grabbed his second to claw the Bears back into the hunt.

But after consultation with the TMO, the try was ruled out for a knock-on and the Bears were denied.


Pat Lam reaction


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