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Will Carpenter


Posted Friday, November 2nd 2018

Report: Bristol Bears 21-13 Gloucester

Bristol Bears took the spoils from a gruelling West Country derby under the Ashton Gate lights, as two tries in the final 15 minutes fired Pat Lam’s men to a 21-13 victory over Gloucester in the Premiership Rugby Cup.

It was a victory owed largely to the dominance of the Bristol pack, with all three tries coming as a result of an impressive home set-piece.

Both Nick Haining and Jake Heenan benefitted from the hosts’ dominance at scrum time to touch down from the base, either side of a Dan Thomas’ 68th-minute score, as the flanker got the final touch on a powerful Bears maul.

Gloucester - who weren’t helped by yellow cards to Kyle Traynor and Aaron Hinkley - had only a pair of Owen Williams’ penalties to show for their efforts right up until the final play, when Ryan Edwards became the third player to see yellow and referee Adam Leal awarded a consolation penalty try before blowing the final whistle.  

What happened?

This was very much a slow burner, and in front of nearly 10,000 supporters at Ashton Gate, it took until the half-hour mark for the opening score. After a series of penalties inside the Gloucester red-zone, Nick Haining was sharp off the base to power over from close range.

Kyle Traynor was sent to the sin-bin for persistent infringement at the scrum shortly after, but Bristol were unable to make their numerical advantage pay as the first half came to a close.

In fact, it was Gloucester who were next on the scoreboard, 14 men and all, as Owen Williams landed successive penalties to make it a one-point game with half an hour to play.

The Gloucester fly half then saw another effort drift wide, while Sheedy followed suit from the tee with his first miss of the night.

Charles Piutau and Aly Muldowney made their long-awaited returns to action as Bristol upped the ante on the hour mark – and the hosts’ forward dominance was rewarded once again, as Dan Thomas touched down at the tail of a driving maul, with Tiff Eden’s conversion opening up an eight-point lead.

Nick Haining crashes over for the opening try (JMPUK).

Ryan Edwards’ interception and 80-metre charge downfield saw the wing hauled down just yards short, but from the resulting phase, Aaron Hinkley was sin-binned for slowing the ball down.

But Bristol weren’t to be denied a second time, with Heenan’s dribble and finish from number eight all but sealing the deal for the home side in the closing stages.

There was still time for a late Gloucester consolation, via the TMO, as referee Adam Leal awarded a penalty try and sin-binned Ryan Edwards for a professional foul on Henry Purdy in the right-hand corner.

The final whistle followed immediately after, as Bristol Bears got back on track with a hard-fought victory over their West Country rivals.

The teams:

Bristol Bears: Morahan; Pincus (C Piutau 60), O’Conor, Bedlow (Eden 65), Edwards; Sheedy (c), Uren (Randall 64); Cosgrove (Woolmore 64), Lindsay (Malton 40), N Thomas (Thiede 48), Hawkins (Muldowney 48), Jeffries, Dun, D Thomas, Haining (Heenan 60). Replacements: Malton, Woolmore, Thiede, Muldowney, Heenan, Randall, Eden, C Piutau.

Gloucester: Hudson, Thorley, Trinder, Seabrook, Purdy, Williams, Vellacott (c); Traynor, Mullis, Knight; Craig; Grobler; Terry, Hinkley, Evans. Replacements: Gleave, Adkins, Denman; Allen, Kriel, Chapman, Coetzer, Reeves.

Key moment:

With the game finely poised at 7-6, Bristol Bears took a huge leap towards victory thanks to Dan Thomas' 68th-minute score.

The openside dabbed down following another dominant Bears' set-piece, as the forward once again turned the screw on Gloucester, with Tiff Eden's conversion giving the home side an eight-point lead heading into the closing stages.

Man of the match: Ryan Edwards

In a game of fine margins, Ryan Edwards came up with two big moments for Pat Lam's side. 

A first-half break - after neat work from Callum Sheedy - took Bears within striking distance of the Gloucester line, before Haining charged over from close range.

And Edwards was at it again late on, intercepting inside the Bristol 22 and charging 80 metres downfield.

He was hauled down just short, but from the resulting phases, Hinkley was sin-binned and Heenan crashed over to seal the win.  

Photo of the match:

The players celebrate the win in the changing rooms (JMPUK).

Social media post of the match: