- Gallagher Premiership
- Friday, October 18th 2019
- Ashton Gate
Will Carpenter reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol Bears 43-16 Bath Rugby
Saturday, October 19th 2019
Bristol Bears ran in seven tries to storm to a magnificent bonus-point victory over local rivals Bath at a sold-out Ashton Gate on Friday night.
Luke Morahan and Nathan Hughes touched down inside the first 15 minutes, before Bath hit back with two Rhys Priestland penalties and a try from Zach Mercer to lead by a single point just before the interval.
But Pat Lam’s men had the final say of the half with a try from Mat Protheroe, before the wing turned provider for Piers O’Conor early in the second half.
Priestland landed a third penalty to reduce the deficit, but Lewis Boyce’s yellow card opened the floodgates, as John Afoa, Ioan Lloyd – on his Premiership debut – and Luke Morahan sealed a thumping win for Bristol in front of more than 26,000 supporters in BS3.
On his Premiership debut for the club, Nathan Hughes sparked Bristol into life with a powerful break, before Charles Piutau’s footwork created an opening for Morahan, who touched down in the corner.
Priestland was on target with a penalty to get Bath on the scoreboard, but Bristol soon had their second, thanks once again to the magic of Piutau. Thacker’s inside pass found the full back in space, and his one-handed offload sent Hughes in for a brilliantly worked score.
Priestland then landed a long-range penalty, before missing another minutes later – but the Welshman was on hand to add an exquisite touchline conversion after Zach Mercer had bundled over in the corner.
It looked to have given Bath a one-point lead at the interval, but when the home side were awarded a penalty in kicking range, Luatua opted for the corner.
And his bravery was rewarded, with the pack making the hard yards and a deft pass from Will Hurrell sending Protheroe over untouched for a 17-13 score line at the break.
Bristol began the second half much like they had the first, as Dan Thomas’ sensational pick up set the ball rolling for Hughes and Protheroe to send O’Conor under the posts for the bonus-point try.
A third Priestland penalty made it an eight-point game, but a yellow card for Lewis Boyce for a high tackle, as Randall dived for the line, gave Bristol the impetus, and Afoa drove over for a fifth on 67 minutes.
The moment of the night arrived three minutes from time, as another Morahan burst sent 18-year-old Ioan Lloyd – the youngest player ever to represent the club in the Premiership – over for a memorable score.
There was still time for the icing on the Bears cake, as Morahan bagged a second to cap a night for the ages at Ashton Gate.
Bristol Bears: C Piutau (Lloyd 68); Morahan, O’Conor, Hurrell, Protheroe (Leiua 56; Sheedy, Uren (Randall 56); Woolmore, Thacker (Malton 56), Afoa, Attwood (Vui 56), Joyce, Luatua (c) (Heenan 72), D Thomas, Hughes.
Replacements: Malton, Y Thomas, Lahiff, Vui, Heenan, Randall, Lloyd, Leiua.
Bath: Homer, Brew, Clark, Wright, Davis, Priestland, Chudley; Obano, Dunn, Judge, McNally, Ewels (c), Williams, Ellis, Mercer.
Replacements: Walker, Boyce, Stuart, Stooke, Bayliss, Cook, Burns, Roberts.
Bristol Bears: Tries: Morahan 3, Hughes 14, Protheroe 40, O’Conor 52, Afoa 67, Lloyd 79, Morahan 80. Cons: Sheedy 14, 52, 67, Lloyd 80.
Bath Rugby: Tries: Mercer 27. Cons: Priestland 27. Pens: Priestland 6, 19, 55. Yellow: Boyce 66
After Mat Protheroe's try on the stroke of half-time had edged Bristol into a 17-13 lead, Piers O'Conor's bonus-point score, ten minutes into the second period, gave Pat Lam's men breathing space and sent them on the way to a thumping win.
The centre rounded off a sensational Bears attack, after Hughes and Protheroe had combined to send him under the sticks.
It was the knockout blow for Bristol on a memorable night at Ashton Gate.
Wow @BristolBears what a brilliant try! 🔥— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) October 18, 2019
Piers O'Conor touches down but nearly every player was involved for a very early try of the season contender!
That's how you secure a bonus point in style 🙌#GallagherPrem pic.twitter.com/t8STJ60qDp
Man of the match: Nathan Hughes
A giant of a performance from a giant of a man.
This was a phenomenal display from the number eight, who scored his first Premiership try for the club and had a hand in two others on an eye-catching league debut in Bristol colours.
"We want to push top six this season, that's our goal."— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) October 18, 2019
Charles Piutau and new signing Nathan Hughes react to a hugely impressive win over Bath...
With those two on form, anything is possible for @BristolBears 💪 pic.twitter.com/T9lzpXEOAx
Pat Lam reaction:
Photo of the match:
Social media highlights
Charles Piutau once again proving tonight there isn’t a team in the world he wouldn’t start for.— RugbyLAD (@RugbyLAD7) October 18, 2019
Great vindication for @stephenlansdow1’s Bears rebrand tonight. Packed house and a team that not only “gets” the fanbase but can deliver results like that against the great enemy. Bath’s time in the sun a distant memory but Bristol on the up.— Steve Cotton (@stevencotton) October 18, 2019
- Morahan (2), O'Conor, Protheroe, Afoa, Hughes, Lloyd
- Sheedy (3), Lloyd
- Yellow Cards:
- Priestland (3)
- Yellow Cards: