- Gallagher Premiership
- Saturday, March 27th 2021
- Ashton Gate
Will Carpenter reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol Bears 35-33 Harlequins
Saturday, March 27th 2021
Callum Sheedy marked his 100th competitive appearance for Bristol Bears with a match-winning touchline conversion, as Pat Lam’s men, for the second week running, snatched a dramatic bonus-point victory over Harlequins.
In a pulsating Gallagher Premiership clash, Kyle Sinckler’s 80th-minute try against his former club levelled the scores with the final play, as the Bears overturned a 12-point deficit in the final seven minutes.
From there, it was over to Sheedy, returning from a triumphant Six Nations campaign with Wales to land the decisive kick from wide out on the right-hand touchline and bring to a close one of the games of the season.
Earlier, first-half tries from Dave Attwood, Fitz Harding and Piers O’Conor had given the Bears a 21-17 lead at the break, with a penalty try and Danny Care’s opportunistic score putting Quins on the board.
After the interval, Marcus Smith added two penalties and Danny Care a smart drop goal, either side of Joe Marchant’s well-worked try, as Quins stormed into a commanding 12-point lead late on.
But a 75th minute penalty try, and a yellow card for Marchant, clawed the Bears back within range. And when Quins infringed twice in succession, Sheedy picked out the corner and Sinckler rumbled over, before handing over the reins to the ice-cold fly half.
With the league’s leading try scorers going head-to-head, a lot was expected at Ashton Gate, and the game didn’t disappoint.
Attwood cantered over from 30 metres to open the scoring, as the Bears turned defence into attack when Smith’s penalty had struck the post.
Quins hit back with a penalty try courtesy of a well-worked driving lineout and Ben Earl was sent to the sinbin, before Uren’s flat pass allowed Byrne to offer a delicious offload to the supporting Harding, who was on early for captain Steven Luatua.
In a game played at breakneck speed, Semi Radradra marked his return to action with a quite remarkable carry and one-handed offload into the path of O’Conor for the fifth try of a crazy first half.
Smith pegged the Bears back with penalties either side of half time, and when Care smashed over a rare Premiership drop goal on the hour mark, the visitors had edged themselves in front.
That lead was extended 11 minutes from time when quick hands from Care found a rampaging Esterhuizen, and the South African’s offload sent Marchant in for what looked like the killer blow.
But at the other end, Dan Thomas powered to the line before the TMO intervened to award a penalty try and send Marchant to the sin bin.
Two more Quins infringements from the restart allowed Sheedy the platform to drive his side downfield, and after Sinckler had driven over for his first try in Bears colours, the number 10 held his nerve to complete the unlikeliest of wins.
Bristol Bears: Morahan; Adeolokun (Leiua 63), Radradra, O'Conor, Purdy; Sheedy, Uren; Woolmore (Lahiff 58), Byrne (Capon 58), Afoa (Sinckler 58), Attwood (Joyce 63), Vui, Luatua (c) (Harding 21), Thomas, Earl.
Replacements: Capon, Lahiff, Sinckler, Joyce, Harding, Kessell, Bedlow, Leiua
Harlequins: Brown; Green, Marchant, Esterhuizen, Murley; Smith, Care; Marler, Baldwin, Louw, Symons, Lamb, Chisholm, Evans, Dombrandt (c)
Replacements: Gray, Els, Kerrod, Young, Lawday, Landajo, Herron, Northmore
Bristol Bears: Tries: Attwood 8, Harding 24, O’Conor 33, Penalty 75, Sinckler 80. Cons: Sheedy 8, 24, 33, 80. Yellow: Earl 12
Harlequins: Tries: Penalty 12, Care 25, Marchant 69. Cons: Smith 25, 69. Pens: Smith 40, 45, 73. Drop goals: Care 56. Yellow: Marchant 75
This Bears team just doesn't know when it's beaten.
With the clock in the red, a trademark lineout drive was finished off by the returning Kyle Sinckler, who powered over for his first Bears try.
The ice-cool Sheedy nailed the touchline conversion to snatch another dramatic win.
Victory at the death for @BristolBears! 🐻— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) March 27, 2021
Of all the people, it just had to be @KyleSinckler against his old side! 👀
And @Sheedy95 adds the extras to clinch the win! Incredible drama! 🤯#GallagherPrem pic.twitter.com/4KRxZm6uE2
Pat Lam reaction
Man of the match: Dan Thomas
A typically busy and industrious display from the hugely consistent Dan Thomas.
The flanker impressed on both sides of the ball as the Bears extended their lead at the top of the Gallagher Premiership to 12 points.
Social media reaction
- O'Conor, Attwood, Sinckler, Harding
- Sheedy (4)
- Yellow Cards:
- Marchant, Care
- Smith (2)
- Smith (3)
- Yellow Cards: