- Gallagher Premiership
- Saturday, February 27th 2021
- Ashton Gate
Will Carpenter reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol Bears 17-3 Leicester Tigers
Saturday, February 27th 2021
Two tries in five first-half minutes helped the Bears return to winning ways with a battling victory over Leicester Tigers at Ashton Gate.
Will Capon and Piers O’Conor touched down late in the first period to take full advantage of Matías Moroni’s sin binning for a deliberate knock-on, while seven points from the boot of Ioan Lloyd extended the Bears’ lead at the top of the Gallagher Premiership.
Bristol were guilty of being uncharacteristically wasteful during a cagey opening quarter, and had Tigers number 10 Diaz Bonilla packed his kicking boots, could well have found themselves nine points down by the half-hour mark.
Will Capon came close to the game’s opening try, linking nicely with Dan Thomas only for the flanker to be penalised after Capon had been hauled down short.
That gilt-edged Bears chance came minutes after Bonilla’s first penalty had drifted wide and the Argentine fly half repeated the does on 28 minutes, before making it third time lucky on 28 minutes.
The visitors were dealt a blow when Moroni was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on and this appeared to spark the Bears into life, as Capon touched down from a driving lineout to edge the hosts in front.
Morahan’s 80-metre break almost made it two, before the wing turned provider for O’Conor from a right-hand scrum for the Bears’ second on the stroke of half time. Two Ioan Lloyd conversions made it 14-3 at the break.
Lloyd extended that lead with a 49th-minute penalty, but the remainder of the second half seemed to peter away, as handling errors and set piece took centre stage.
Naulago threatened down the left and O’Conor sliced his way through the Tigers defence, but the Bears end product was absent as Tigers hung on in the match.
At the other end, Steve Borthwick’s side began to turn the screw but saw three successive lineout drives repelled by a well-organised Bears defence.
Replacement Dan Cole drove for the line late on only to be held up by a combination of Luatua, Harding and Holmes, as the hosts enjoyed a second shutout of the season.
Bristol Bears: Piutau (Eden 79); Morahan (Adeolokun 45), O'Conor, Leiua, Naulago; Lloyd, Uren (Kessell 74); Woolmore (Armstrong 74), Capon, Afoa (Y Thomas 46), Vui, Joyce (Holmes 57), Luatua, Thomas, Heenan (Harding 61).
Replacements: Kloska, Thomas, Armstrong, Holmes, Harding, Kessell, Eden, Adeolokun.
Leicester Tigers: Murimurivalu, Van Wyk, Moroni, Kelly, Porter, Diaz Bonilla, Van Poortvliet, Leatigaga, Youngs, Heyes, Henderson, Lavanini, Wells, Reffell, Chessum.
Replacements: Clare, Whitcombe, Cole, Green, Wallace, White, McPhillips, Simmons.
Bristol Bears: Tries: Capon 34, O’Conor 38. Cons: Lloyd 34, 38. Pens: Lloyd 49
Leicester Tigers: Pens: Diaz Bonilla 28. Yellow: Moroni 32
The Bears had threatened to cut loose during a scrappy first half, but arrived at the half-hour mark with nothing to show for their efforts and trailing by three points.
But Capon's try from a trademark driving lineout and Piers O'Conor's set-piece score gave the hosts a commanding lead at the break - one they would not relinquish.
Pat Lam reaction
Man of the match: Alapati Leiua
Nine defenders beaten and two clean breaks for the impressive Alapati Leiua, who started at inside centre against the Tigers on Saturday.
The Samoan powerhouse starred on both sides of the ball as the Bears returned to winning ways.
Social media reaction
Tough that. Pleased to get back to winning ways at the Gate #Halfway 😅— Steven Luatua (@StevenLuatua) February 27, 2021
It was tough but @BristolBears take the W to extend their lead at the top 💪@LeicesterTigers pushed them hard but couldn't break their defence...— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) February 27, 2021
Reaction on the #GallagherPrem live blog ➡️ https://t.co/I8SiwFImDX #BRIvLEI pic.twitter.com/G2qW66Sz2e
- O'Conor, Capon
- Lloyd (2)
- Yellow Cards:
- Diaz Bonilla
- Yellow Cards: