- Gallagher Premiership
- Sunday, March 8th 2020
- Ashton Gate
Will Carpenter reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol Bears 28-15 Harlequins
Sunday, March 8th 2020
Bristol Bears stormed to a fifth successive Gallagher Premiership win for the first time in the club’s history, as a blistering first-half display overpowered Harlequins at Ashton Gate on Sunday afternoon.
Luke Morahan struck inside 47 seconds to get Bristol up and running, and the Australian added his second on 21 minutes after Aaron Morris had hit back for Quins.
Henry Purdy was sent to the sin bin, but Callum Sheedy added two penalties to give the hosts a commanding half-time lead, while his third eight minutes into the second period made it a 20-point advantage.
In a slower paced second half, Gabriel Ibitoye grabbed a second for Quins late on, but it was little more than a consolation, as Bristol reclaimed third place with an eighth league win of the season.
It took just six minutes for Bristol to open the scoring against Bath last weekend, but a rampant home side were even quicker out of the blocks this time around, as Steven Luatua’s galloping break and offload sent Morahan scorching into the corner inside the first minute.
Brett Herron and Sheedy traded penalties during a frantic opening quarter, before Danny Care and Aaron Morris combined from a five-metre scrum, with the Quins full back ghosting through to score.
Bristol’s response was an immediate one, as Piutau’s deft kick through was fumbled by Herron and scooped up by Morahan for his second of the half. The try was referred to the TMO, but Craig Maxwell-Keys awarded the score and Sheedy added the extras from out wide.
The fly half landed his second penalty, while Herron saw his fade wide of the uprights, as Bristol continued to dominate possession and territory in the Ashton Gate sunshine.
How about that for some creativity from a front-row?!— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) March 8, 2020
Will Capon had his thinking cap on for a brilliant offload while being driven into touch 🙌@BristolBears are up for it today! pic.twitter.com/hTg1lIWWBj
Their third try arrived four minutes before the interval, with Will Capon’s round-the-back offload keeping the ball alive, and Vui powering over for the second week running.
The one downside to an impressive first 40 from Bristol was Henry Purdy’s yellow card two minutes from time for a deliberate knock-on, but the home side came through the ten-minute period unscathed.
In fact, the game’s next score came courtesy of Sheedy’s trusty boot, to give Bristol a commanding 20-point lead.
Lam’s men continued to chase an all-important fourth try for the bonus point, but Quins, inspired by replacement, Marcus Smith, were enjoying the lion’s share of possession.
Ibitoye scooted over in the corner six minutes from time to give the visitors some late comfort, while Alex Dombrandt saw his try disallowed for a forward pass in the dying seconds.
But the day belonged to Bristol’s history makers, with a record fifth straight top-flight win.
Teams and scorers
Bristol Bears: C Piutau; Morahan, Leiua (Protheroe 73), Bedlow, Purdy; Sheedy, Randall (Uren 61); Y Thomas (Woolmore 40), Capon (Byrne 38), Afoa (Lahiff 61), Joyce (Holmes (69), Vui, Luatua (c), D Thomas, Hughes (Heenan 71).
Replacements: Byrne, Woolmore, Lahiff, Holmes, Heenan, Uren, Madigan, Protheroe.
Harlequins: Morris, Northmore, Penny, Lasike, Ibitoye, Herron, Care; Lambert, Baldwin, Kerrod, Young, Symons, J Chisholm, Robshaw (c), Dombrandt.
Replacements: Musk, Auterac, Collier, Cavubati, Evans, Saunders, Smith, Saili.
Bristol Bears: Tries: Morahan 1, 21, Vui 36. Cons: Sheedy 1, 36. Pens: Sheedy 11, 28, 48. Yellow: Purdy 38
Harlequins: Tries: Morris 18, Ibitoye 74. Cons: Smith 74. Pens: Herron 6
Out of the blocks at a rate of knots, once again.
It took just 47 seconds for Bristol to open the scoring at Ashton Gate, as Steven Luatua's surge down the touchline and sensational offload to the supporting Luke Morahan gave the hosts the perfect start.
Pat Lam reaction
Man of the match: Steven Luatua
"We came out here and the focus was great."— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) March 8, 2020
"As a group we are building something here."@BristolBears captain Steven Luatua was class today 👏
He caught up with @MartinBayfield to reflect on a MOTM performance... pic.twitter.com/gAOZegKk1Y
Photo of the match
Social media highlights
Congratulations to everyone that took part in today’s #RugbyMarch in aid of St Peter’s Hospice. We couldn’t have done it without the help of Bristol Bears 😃👍🏉🐻 @Nick_FW7 @downsy @JonLansdown @ashtongatestad @BristolBears #BRIvHAR @stpetershospice pic.twitter.com/6nrm8vI922— Johnny Flanagan (@JohnnyHospice) March 8, 2020
Plugging Ben Earl and Max Malins into this team is going to be a lot of fun. https://t.co/HH8og9XM2G— Alex Shaw (@alexshawsport) March 8, 2020
- Morahan (2), Vui
- Sheedy (2)
- Sheedy (3)
- Yellow Cards:
- Morris, Ibitoye
- Yellow Cards: