- Gallagher Premiership
- Monday, May 17th 2021
- Ashton Gate
Will Carpenter reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol Bears 39-7 Gloucester Rugby
Tuesday, May 18th 2021
Six tries, nine disallowed or squandered, 46 points, one red card and one yellow marked the return of supporters to Ashton Gate, as more than 3,000 turned out to witness Bristol Bears’ record victory over Gloucester in a truly bizarre West Country derby.
Pat Lam’s men were six points to the good and had already seen a Kyle Sinckler try chalked off when Matias Alemanno was sent off for a dangerous tip tackle on Steven Luatua.
Jake Kerr then saw his try ruled out, Andy Uren had the ball dislodged as he dived for the line and Semi Radradra was held up, before Val Rapava-Ruskin’s yellow card was followed by a Max Malins try that was allowed to stand.
In a ludicrous half of rugby, Callum Sheedy’s first try in nearly two years was also disallowed, while at the other end, Santiago Carreras found space to dive over and reduce the deficit three minutes from time.
There was still time for more drama, as Kyle Moyle caught Charles Piutau off guard in goal, dislodging the ball as the full back took his foot off the gas, to leave the Bears’ lead, somehow, at just six points.
The theme continued after the interval, as Leiua’s 48th-minute try was pulled back for a forward pass, but Chris Vui’s stunning break, selling two dummies along the way before feeding Charles Piutau eventually broke the Gloucester resistance.
Willi Heinz joined the party with a disallowed try when he was adjudged offside from a kick through, and Charles Piutau’s second of the night suffered a similar fate when the TMO spotted a knock-on from Ben Earl.
But as they have done so many times this season, the table-toppers finished with a flourish, as Earl, Hughes and finally, Radradra capped a night that will live long in the memory, for a variety of reasons.
Ashton Gate welcomed back 3,128 supporters for the first time since March 2020 and those in attendance were treated to a thrilling West Country derby.
Two Sheedy penalties opened the scoring before Sinckler’s second try in a Bears shirt was disallowed for a knock-on as the prop grounded the ball. It looked a tough call at the end of a flowing Bears attack, but the red card to Alemanno for a tip tackle on Luatua minutes later was far more straightforward.
Six points and one man to the good, the Bears upped the ante and when Sheedy kicked a penalty to the corner, Jake Kerr, on his home debut crashed over, before becoming the second try to fall foul of the TMO.
Uren knocked on as he drove for the line and Radradra was held up over the whitewash, as the Bears huffed and puffed for the first try of the night.
It eventually arrived on 28 minutes, shortly after Rapava-Ruskin saw yellow – Charles Piutau and Sheedy combining in style to send Malins crashing over.
In a maddening half, Sheedy was then also denied by a TMO call and Charles Piutau squandered a chance with the line at his mercy, to leave the Bears with little to show for their first-half dominance.
Leiua replaced Siale Piutau and was quickly into the action, collecting Malins’ pass to cruise in, only to become the latest player to be denied by the TMO.
Chris Vui is out here ending careers 😭— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) May 17, 2021
Sending blokes for hotdogs all over the gaff 🤣 pic.twitter.com/1G2flTK4eW
But Vui’s magic eased the Bears frustration as he broke clear to feed Piutau, and after Heinz’s try was ruled out for offside, Earl touched down to put the game to bed 13 minutes from time.
Hughes sealed the bonus point courtesy of a lineout drive, leaving Radradra to cap an extraordinary night at Ashton Gate.
Bristol Bears: C Piutau (Lloyd 69), Morahan, Radradra, S Piutau (Leiua 57), Malins, Sheedy, Uren (Kessell 76), Thomas (Woolmore 57), Kerr (Capon 57), Sinckler (Afoa 57), Attwood, Vui (Holmes 74), Luatua (c) (Heenan 69), Earl, Hughes.
Replacements: Capon, Woolmore, Afoa, Holmes, Heenan, Kessell, Lloyd, Leiua.
Gloucester: Moyle, Rees-Zammit, Kveseladze, Atkinson, Carreras, Twelvetrees, Heinz, Rapava-Ruskin, Singleton, Balmain, Slater, Alemanno, Reid, Ludlow (c), Ackermann.
Replacements: Walker, Ford-Robinson, Stanley, Morgan, Clement, Varney, Evans, Thorley.
Bristol Bears: Tries: Malins 28, C Piutau 64, Earl 67, Hughes 74, Radradra 80. Cons: Sheedy 28, 67, 80. Pens: Sheedy 7, 12
Gloucester: Tries: Carreras 37. Cons: Twelvetrees 37. Yellow: Rapava-Ruskin 23. Red: Alemanno 16
An all-action start was added to by an early red card to Matias Alemanno, for a tip tackle on Steven Luatua.
It made Gloucester's task a tough one and the Bears eventually capitalised on their numerical advantage.
Red for Matias Alemanno after a dangerous tackle.— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) May 17, 2021
Gloucester's task just got a lot harder... pic.twitter.com/i246VKDOWW
Pat Lam reaction
🗣️ "It was goosebumps. I was pretty emotional when we came out. They were phenomenal."— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) May 17, 2021
Lam hails impact of home faithful 🏟️ pic.twitter.com/Vp7b6ZIiQJ
Man of the match: Callum Sheedy
The Bears' number ten was in fine form at Ashton Gate, kicking 14 points and providing two glorious assists for Max Malins and Semi Radradra.
Social media highlights
So so good to hear the roar of the Bristol faithful back at Ashton Gate. It certainly didn’t sound like it was a limited crowd number. Thank you a million. P.s neck / head is all good #WeGoAgain— Steven Luatua (@StevenLuatua) May 17, 2021
Wow... who knew 3,000 could make so much noise! A very special night made by the @BristolBears faithful.. thank you and can’t wait to do it again soon🐻❤️— Callum Sheedy (@Sheedy95) May 18, 2021
I have no words after that match, and no voice after Callum Sheedy’s interview!! Well played the Ashton Gate crowd, you brought it tonight 📢💥— Sarra Elgan Easterby (@Sarraelgan) May 17, 2021
Ashton Gate filled to the rafters is going to have the best atmosphere in the Premiership.— RugbyInsideLine (@RugbyInsideLine) May 17, 2021
A joyous evening at Ashton Gate, a riot of fun & noise @premrugby Bristol’s finish ludicrously good, amidst a flurry of botched try-scoring efforts & wholehearted Gloucester commitment with 14 men. The night rugby rose again. @btsportrugby pic.twitter.com/d0ivKgQBvX— Alastair Eykyn (@alastaireykyn) May 17, 2021
- Piutau, Radradra, Malins, Earl, Hughes
- Sheedy (4)
- Sheedy (2)
- Yellow Cards:
- Red Cards:
- Yellow Cards:
- Red Cards: