- Gallagher Premiership
- Friday, February 15th 2019
- Ashton Gate
Will Carpenter reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol Bears 22-29 Wasps
Friday, February 15th 2019
Bristol Bears were made to pay for a lacklustre first-half as they slipped to a third home defeat of the season in the Gallagher Premiership against Wasps on Friday night.
Thomas Young, Tom Cruse and Nizaam Carr all crossed in a dominant opening 40 minutes from the visitors, as Dai Young’s side took a 16-point advantage into half-time.
Three tries in 15 minute second-half minutes saw Bristol claw their way back into the contest, as Harry Randall, Piers O’Conor and Charles Piutau gave Pat Lam’s side a lifeline after Will Rowlands had scored Wasps fourth on 52 minutes.
Lima Sopoaga landed a penalty to extend Wasps’ lead to seven points 16 minutes from time, but Bristol were unable to land another blow as Wasps stood firm late on, leaving the home side with a consolation losing bonus-point for their efforts.
Bristol started brightly at Ashton Gate, as Ian Madigan opened the scoring with an angled penalty after a powerful bust from Chris Vui on the right wing.
But it was Wasps who scored the game’s opening try, when Thomas Young bundled over from a driving lineout on 11 minutes, with Billy Searle adding the conversion.
Tom Cruse went over in the corner for the visitors’ second five minutes before the interval, after a long period of Wasps pressure inside the Bristol 22.
And it soon got worse for Bristol, as Searle intercepted ten metres from his own line before racing 50 metres and locating the speeding Nizaam Carr for Wasps’ third try of the half.
Searle converted, but that was to be his last meaningful act of the game, as the former Bristol number ten was stretchered off early in the second-half with a nasty looking injury.
Sopoaga entered the fray and his first contribution was to kick the ball out on the full. From the resulting lineout, Bristol sprung into life with Harry Randall rounding off a dazzling attack after slick offloading from Dan Thomas, Siale Piutau and Harry Thacker.
But Randall’s score was quickly cancelled out by the opportunistic Will Rowlands, who scooped up a loose ball in midfield to gallop in from 40 metres and restore Wasps 16-point advantage.
Bristol though weren’t finished, as Luatua and Vui combined to send O’Conor over on 56 minutes, with Sheedy’s conversion making it a nine-point game.
Sheedy was in the thick of the action again three minutes later - the replacement fly-half breaking clear to send the supporting Charles Piutau over for Bristol’s third try of a breathless second period.
Wasps responded with a Sopoaga penalty on 64 minutes, after Tommy Taylor has seen his try ruled out for a forward pass, to edge into a seven-point lead in the closing stages.
A penalty with ten seconds on the clock gifted Pat Lam’s men one more throw of the dice, but after Sheedy had kicked to the corner, Wasps forced the turnover at the lineout to secure a bonus-point win on the road and condemn Bristol to ninth defeat of the season.
Teams & scorers
Bristol Bears: Tries: Randall 45, O’Conor 56, C Piutau 59. Cons: Madigan 45, Sheedy 56. Pens: Madigan 6
Wasps: Tries: Young 11, Cruse 35, Carr 39, Rowlands 52. Cons: Searle 11, 39, Sopoaga 52. Pens: Sopoaga 64
Bristol Bears: Daniels; Edwards (C Piutau 40), O’Conor, S Piutau (cc), Leiua; Madigan (Sheedy 52), Randall (Uren 59); Y Thomas (Woolmore 79), Thacker, Afoa, Hawkins (Haining 6, Lam 21), Vui, Luatua, D Thomas (Fenton-Wells 70), Crane (co-capt). Replacements: Fenton-Wells, Woolmore, Thiede, Haining, Lam, Uren, Sheedy, C Piutau.
Wasps: Le Roux, Campagnaro, de Jongh, Lovobalavu, Bassett, Searle (Sopoaga 43), Robson, Zhvania, Cruse, Stuart, Rowlands, Gaskell, Johnson (c), Young, Carr.
Replacements: Taylor, Harris, McIntyre, Myall, Morris, Simpson, Sopoaga, Miller.
Bristol came flying out of the blocks in the second-half, with Harry Randall's 45th-minute looking to have shifted the momentum.
But Wasps' Will Rowlands scooped up a loose ball in the Bristol midfield to race in from halfway and score the visitors' bonus-point try and cancel out Randall's effort.
Man of the match: Harry Randall
The young number nine sparked Bristol into life in the second-half after what had been a poor opening 40 from the home side.
Randall applied the finishing touches to a superb Bristol attack on 45 minutes, and did his best to get the hosts moving throughout the 80 minutes.
The scrum-half also made some telling defensive plays, forcing a knock-on from Nizaam Carr at the base of the scrum and making a last-ditch tackle on Lovobalavu.
Photo of the match:
- O'Conor, Randall, Piutau
- Madigan, Sheedy
- Yellow Cards:
- Cruse, Rowlands, Young, Carr
- Searle (2), Sopoaga
- Yellow Cards: