- Gallagher Premiership
- Saturday, January 25th 2020
- Ashton Gate
Will Carpenter reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol Bears 34-16 Gloucester
Saturday, January 25th 2020
Henry Purdy returned to haunt his former club as Bristol Bears got back to winning ways in the Gallagher Premiership with an emphatic West Country derby victory over Gloucester at Ashton Gate.
Purdy, who left Gloucester in 2019 before joining Coventry, touched down on his league debut for the club, as Pat Lam’s men produced a commanding second half display to dispatch the Cherry and Whites in front of nearly 20,000 supporters in BS3.
Five Callum Sheedy penalties cancelled out three successful kicks from Owen Williams, to give Bristol a six-point lead at half time.
But the hosts sprung into life after the break, with Purdy rounding off a sweeping attack, and Luke Morahan repeating the feat in the opposite corner.
Replacement Mat Protheroe announced himself on the scene with a scorching third for a rampant Bristol side, with Sheedy converting from out wide for a 19-point personal haul.
Freddie Clarke crossed for a Gloucester consolation late on, while Purdy was sin-binned in the dying seconds.
But it wasn’t enough to take the gloss off of an impressive victory for the hosts, who end a run of three straight league defeats in some style.
Bristol took the lead courtesy of Sheedy’s opening penalty, after Chris Harris had slapped down Morahan’s pass in the wide channels.
Williams responded in kind almost straight from the kick-off with Bristol penalised for holding on, before a powerful surge down the short side from Alapati Leiua saw Sheedy on target again.
Williams replied again, before the number tens traded penalties for the third time in the half to make it 9-9 on the half hour mark.
A rampaging break from Nathan Hughes put the hosts on the front foot once again, allowing Sheedy to land his fourth successful kick with Gloucester edging offside near the breakdown.
And an action-packed half finished in the same way it had started, with another three-pointer from the boot of Bristol’s fly half - after expert work at the breakdown from Luatua had forced the Cherry and Whites to hold on – giving the hosts a six-point buffer at the break.
Rugby 2.0. 🤯— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) January 25, 2020
But after a half of near misses, Bristol hit their stride early in the second period, with Leiua charging clear down the right wing. From the subsequent phase, O’Conor dipped to collect a low pass before finding Purdy, who powered his way to the whitewash.
Nathan Hughes was held up over the line as Bristol pushed to land the killer blow – and it came 11 minutes from time, as Leiua and Sheedy combined to send Morahan over for a trademark flying finish.
With Bristol now in full control, Protheroe spotted a gaping hole in the Gloucester defence to scorch in for try number three and seal a sensational return to winning ways.
With time ticking away, Purdy was sin-binned as Gloucester pressed for a consolation score, which arrived in the form of Clarke’s powerful finish.
But that was all it was, as Bristol completed a fourth Premiership win of the season and a record victory over Gloucester.
Teams and scorers:
Bristol Bears: Morahan, Purdy, O’Conor, Bedlow (Protheroe 64), Leiua; Sheedy (Lloyd 77), Randall (Uren 73); Woolmore (Dawe 74), Malton (Capon 64), Afoa (Thiede 59), Attwood (Holmes 59), Vui, Luatua (c), D Thomas, Hughes (Heenan 68).
Replacements: Capon, Dawe, Thiede, Holmes, Heenan, Uren, Lloyd, Protheroe.
Gloucester Rugby: Woodward; Marshall, Harris, Atkinson, Rees-Zammit; Williams, Simpson; Rapava-Ruskin, Marais, Balmain; Craig, Mostert; Ackermann, Ludlow (c), Morgan.
Replacements: Gleave, Hohneck, Knight, Clarke, Polledri, Braley, Twelvetrees, Banahan.
Bristol Bears: Tries: Purdy 46, Morahan 69, Protheroe 74. Cons: Sheedy 46, 74. Pens: Sheedy 14, 19, 28, 35, 38. Yellow: Purdy 79.
Gloucester Rugby: Tries: Clarke 78. Cons: Twelvetrees 78. Pens: Williams 16, 21, 32.
Five Callum Sheedy penalties were all Bristol had to show for 40 minutes of dominance at Ashton Gate, but Pat Lam's men hit their stride early in the second half, with Henry Purdy powering his way to the line after a superb attacking sweep from the Bears.
It fired the hosts into a 13-point lead and set the tone for a sensational second-half display.
Pat Lam reaction:
Man of the match: Nathan Hughes
The BIG man with another BIG display for the Bears at Ashton Gate.
Nathan Hughes was in devastating form against Gloucester, piercing the visiting defence on numerous occasions and roaming free in the wider channels, as Bristol returned to winning ways in style.
The number eight was named man of the match by the BT Sport commentary team - and we wholeheartedly agree.
Wooosh 💨— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) January 25, 2020
Nathan Hughes, please, these men have families 🤭 pic.twitter.com/Wqw15VZIpT
Photo of the match:
Social media highlights:
Nathan Hughes reminding Eddie Jones that England have more than one big HGV at No8. Driving Bristol to a record Prem win against Gloucester @btsportrugby— Nick Mullins (@andNickMullins) January 25, 2020
Massive game from Nathan Hughes today 🐻🙌 pic.twitter.com/lOg4oBhJpE— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) January 25, 2020
Huge effort 💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻🐻🐻🐻 https://t.co/ZkhSTjnm6A— Kevin Geary (@KevGeary) January 25, 2020
- Morahan, Purdy, Protheroe
- Sheedy (2)
- Sheedy (5)
- Yellow Cards:
- Williams (3)
- Yellow Cards: