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Will Carpenter reports from
Report: Bristol Bears 59-21 Zebre Rugby
Saturday, November 16th 2019
Ioan Lloyd steered the ship with a 22-point haul as Bristol Bears kicked off their European Challenge Cup campaign with an eight-try thrashing of Zebre at Ashton Gate on Saturday.
The 18-year-old, making his first competitive start for the club, added seven conversions and a penalty to a sensational first half try in a flawless kicking display from the fly half, as Pat Lam’s men made it five wins from five at home this season.
Will Capon and Toby Fricker struck in the space of three minutes to cancel out Mattia Bellini’s seventh-minute score, before Piers O’Conor, Lloyd and Dan Thomas ensured the bonus point was wrapped up inside 26 minutes.
Bristol were forced to play 20 minutes with just 14 men after yellow cards to Ed Holmes and James Dun, and Zebre hit back through Apisai Tauyavuca and a penalty try.
But Yann Thomas, Charlie Powell and Andy Uren took the hosts past the 50-point mark late on, to seal an emphatic win in front of nearly 11,000 supporters.
A slow start from Bristol saw Zebre strike first, with Bellini scooping up a loose ball to race in under the posts after just seven minutes.
The early setback sparked the hosts into life and after some patient build-up inside the Zebre 22, Will Capon powered over from close range to level the scores.
Fricker was next on the scoresheet, touching down after Charles Piutau and Chris Vui had traded spectacular offloads.
The fleet footed O’Conor crossed for number three on 23 minutes, stepping inside before rounding the covering Padovani to score under the posts.
And Ioan Lloyd sealed a 26-minute bonus-point with the pick of the bunch, gliding in from all of 70 metres after gathering the ball facing his own try line.
The fly half added a penalty to extend the hosts’ advantage further, while there was still time for a fifth Bristol try before the interval, as Dan Thomas fought his way to the line to put Pat Lam’s men firmly in the driving seat.
They extended the advantage further early in the second period when Yann Thomas went over from a driving lineout, before a yellow card to Ed Holmes almost saw Zebre take immediate advantage, but for a last-ditch double tackle from Lloyd and Morahan in the left-hand corner.
The Italians did eventually grab a second courtesy of flanker Apisai Tauyavuca.
No sooner were Bristol back to a full allocation, replacement James Dun became the second player to be shown a yellow card.
A third Zebre try followed as the visiting pack got the upper hand at scrum time to earn a penalty try, but it was Bristol who finished with a flourish, as first Charlie Powell and then Andy Uren found their way to the line to seal a commanding win for the home side, and a fifth successive triumph at home this season.
Bristol found themselves behind early on after Mattia Bellini's seventh-minute try. But the home side hit back with five tries in 17 first-half minutes to turn the game on its head and fire them to an emphatic home win at Ashton Gate.
Pat Lam reaction:
🔴| Pat Lam faces the media after bonus-point victory over @ZebreRugby in the @ERChallengeCup. https://t.co/Vs6lJyltqC— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) November 16, 2019
Man of the match: Ioan Lloyd
On his first competitive start for the club, Ioan Lloyd took centre stage with a masterful, assured display at fly half.
The 18-year-old was flawless from the kicking tee, slotting seven conversions and a penalty in a 22-point haul for the Academy youngster.
Lloyd capped another impressive display with a 70-metre solo effort, scooping up a loose ball and racing clear of the Zebre defence.
Photo of the match:
Social media highlights:
A storming first half for @BristolBears secured the win against @ZebreRugby 👊#ChallengeCupRugby pic.twitter.com/WfT0Vl6OnQ— Challenge Cup (@ERChallengeCup) November 16, 2019
Are you not entertained? https://t.co/LvMHoncics— Ryan Kisiel (@RyanKisiel) November 16, 2019
Here’s our @Eurovision song entry 🎼— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) November 16, 2019
UP THE BEARS! 🐻 pic.twitter.com/XAjXomj2YM
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