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REPORT: Bristol Rugby 22-57 Bath Rugby

Match Report

Friday, January 13th 2017

European Rugby Challenge Cup

Bristol Rugby 22 - 57 Bath Rugby*

HT 10-38

Williams, Varndell, Tovey Tries Dunn, Fotuali'i (2), Ford, Fruean, Rokoduguni, Homer, Cook
Searle (2) Conversions Ford (6), Homer
Searle Penalties Ford

(Model.KickOffShortRefAlias): 7:45PM

Att: 13140

Venue: Ashton Gate

Ref: Marius Mitrea


Bristol Rugby

  • 1 Kyle Traynor
  • 2 Max Christopher Crumpton
  • 3 Jamal Michael Ford-Robinson
  • 4 James Montague Phillips
  • 5 Benjamin Edward Glynn
  • 6 Jack Tafa Lam
  • 7 Oliver James Robinson
  • 8 Mitchell William Eadie
  • 9 Rhodri Williams
  • 10 Billy George Searle
  • 11 Thomas William Varndell
  • 12 Tusiata Pisi
  • 13 Thretton Davis Palamo
  • 14 Jack Edward Wallace
  • 15 Luke Arscott


  • 16 Geraint Marc Jones
  • 17 Jack James O'Connell
  • 18 Rodrigo Gaston Cortes
  • 19 Giorgi Nemsadze
  • 20 Joseph John Joyce
  • 21 William Peter Samuel Cliff
  • 22 Adrian Thomas Jarvis
  • 23 Jack Terence Tovey

Bath Rugby

  • 1 Nathanael George Catt
  • 2 Thomas George Dunn
  • 3 Max Alexander Patrick Lahiff
  • 4 Charlie John Ewels
  • 5 Elliott Richard B. Stooke
  • 6 Zach Ivan Mercer
  • 7 Louis-Francois Pickard Louw
  • 8 Paul William Grant
  • 9 Kahn Fa'asego Fotuali'i
  • 10 George Thomas Ford
  • 11 Anthony Kenneth Chisom Watson
  • 12 Robert Oakopo Fruean
  • 13 Jonathan Byron Alexander Joseph
  • 14 Semesa Rokoduguni
  • 15 Thomas David William Homer


  • 16 Jack Robert Walker
  • 17 Ohwobeno Osemudiamen A.M. Obano
  • 18 Kane Palma-Newport
  • 19 Levi Samuel G. Douglas
  • 20 Guy Stuart Robinson Mercer
  • 21 Christopher John Cook
  • 22 Rhys Priestland
  • 23 Benjamin N.L. Tapuai

Bristol Rugby were put to the sword by a rampant Bath outfit at Ashton Gate on Friday night, going down 57-22 in the European Challenge Cup.

Mark Tainton's side were outscored by eight tries to three as the star-studded visitors - orchestrated by England fly-half George Ford, who scored twenty of his side's points - took full control with scores from Tom Dunn, Tom Homer, Robbie Fruean, Kahn Fotuali'i (2), Semesa Rokoduguni and Ford himself. Tom Varndell, Rhodri Williams and Jack Tovey touched down in consolation for Bristol. 

What happened?

It was very nearly a nightmare start for the hosts, who coughed the ball up almost directly from the restart, allowing Joseph the space and time to prod a kick in behind. Anthony Watson gathered cleanly but knocked on as he tried to ground the ball; the try was disallowed, but the tone of the evening was set.

Bristol were first on the scoreboard during a rare venture into the Bath half courtesy of a monster penalty from the boot of Billy Searle – but Bath quickly made amends for their early squandered chance when Tom Dunn took advantage of an overthrow at the Bristol lineout to crash over, with Ford slotting home the extras from the angle.

Bath – and in particular, their backline – were asking all of the questions early on, with Bristol relying on a scrambling defence to get them out of trouble.

But that brief resistance lasted just seven minutes, as the visitors again worked space on the outside and Ford’s looping pass found Tom Homer for a walk-in on the right-hand side.

CANTER: Robbie Fruean cruises over for Bath's third try of the first half (Photo: JMP UK). 

Ford’s conversion and his first penalty of the evening made it 17-3, but the visitors weren’t finished there as the fly half’s sumptuous break and offload saw Fruean cross for a converted try.

The bonus-point was sewn up by the half hour mark when Kahn Fotuali’i coasted in under the posts to leave Ford the simplest of tasks and open up a 28-point lead for the visitors.

Bristol hit back, albeit somewhat fortuitously, as Olly Robinson’s stab through deflected back into the hands of Varndell, who fed Robinson on the inside. The flanker sold a dummy before being stopped metres short, but Varndell was on hand to pick up and power over from close range with Searle’s conversion dissecting the sticks.

Bath though, had the final say of a dominant half with a fifth try, when man of the match Ford dummied and swayed his way through the hosts’ defence to make it 10-38 at the interval.

RESPONSE: Tom Varndell touches down for Bristol during a torrid first half (Photo: JMP UK).

It was more of the same when the second half got under way, Fotuail’i sniping over on the blindside after the Bath maul had made good ground - and Ford’s last action of the evening was to stroke over a touchline conversion to cap a fine display from the England international.

The home side had been starved of possession for much of the evening but capatalised on a rare spell to score a second try, as Pisi ghosted through a hole before sending Rhodri Williams in under the posts.

The fight back was short-lived, with Rokoduguni shaking off some weak tackling to score in the corner and bring up the Bath half-century, before replacement Chris Cook snaffled an interception and ran in from halfway for an eighth Bath score.

There was a late consolation for Bristol courtesy of Jack Tovey, who applied the finishing touches to Varndell’s break and kick ahead, but it meant very little to the score line on a disappointing night at Ashton Gate.

Key moment:

A sloppy and sluggish start proved Bristol's downfall and set the tone for the evening. At 31-3 down after 30 minutes, there was no way back for Mark Tainton's side. 

Photo of the match:

CONSOLATION: Rhodri Williams crosses for Bristol midway through the second half (Photo: JMP UK). 

Man of the match: Olly Robinson

On a disappointing evening for Bristol, Robinson was one of the few bright sparks with a typically industrious display. The openside and captain made the break for Varndell's first half try and worked hard throughout.

Social media post of the day:

The teams:

Bristol Rugby: Luke Arscott; Jack Wallace, Thretton Palamo (Tovey 49), Tusi Pisi, Tom Varndell; Billy Searle (Jarvis 56), Rhodri Williams (Cliff 71); Kyle Traynor (O’Connell 63), Max Crumpton (Jones 49), Jamal Ford-Robinson (Cortes 63), James Phillips (Nemsadze 49), Ben Glynn, Jack Lam, Olly Robinson (c), Mitch Eadie (Joyce 67).

Replacements: Marc Jones, Jack O’Connell, Gaston Cortes, Giorgi Nemsadze, Joe Joyce, Will Cliff, Adrian Jarvis, Jack Tovey.

Bath Rugby: Tom Homer; Semesa Rokoduguni, Jonathan Joseph (Tapuai 63), Robbie Fruean, Anthony Watson; George Ford (co-capt) (Priestland 49), Kahn Fotuali'I (Cook 55); Nathan Catt (Obano 60), Tom Dunn (Walker 60), Max Lahiff (Palma-Newport 63), Charlie Ewels (Douglas 67), Elliot Stooke, Zach Mercer, Francois Louw (co-capt), Paul Grant.

Replacements: Jack Walker, Beno Obano, Kane Palma-Newport, Levi Douglas, Guy Mercer, Chris Cook, Rhys Priestland, Ben Tapuai.