GALLERY: Bristol Rugby 27-39 Newcastle Falcons
Posted: Saturday, May 6th 2017
Saturday, May 6th 2017
Saturday, May 6th 2017
Aviva Premiership Rugby
|O'Connell, Eadie, Tovey, Ford-Robinson||Tries||Wilson, Harris, Goneva (2), Watson|
|Woodward (2)||Conversions||Takulua (4)|
Venue: Ashton Gate
Ref: Luke Pearce
Bristol Rugby signed off their Aviva Premiership campaign with a 27-39 defeat to Newcastle Falcons at Ashton Gate on Saturday.
Mark Tainton’s side claimed a try bonus-point thanks to scores from Jamal Ford-Robinson, Jack O’Connell, Jack Tovey and Mitch Eadie, while Gavin Henson kicked a penalty and Jason Woodward added two conversions.
But the hosts were outscored by five tries to four as Vereneki Goneva (2), Chris Harris, Mark Wilson and Marcus Watson sealed a bonus-point win for the Falcons. Sonatane Takulua added four conversions and two penalties for a 14-point haul.
Bristol were slow out of the blocks and fell behind just three minutes in when Mark Wilson sprinted in from 20 metres after neat work from Chris Harris in midfield.
Bristol almost hit back when Woodward found space on the outside before being bundled into touch two metres short, with Edwards close in support.
Takulua extended the Falcons lead on 14 minutes with a well-struck penalty after Bristol had infringed at the scrum. But the scrum half couldn’t add the extras when Goneva snuck through the centre of a ruck to go over unopposed.
The Tongan’s next effort also found its target as Falcons opened up an 18-0 lead on 25 minutes.
Mark Tainton’s side were guilty of squandering a second glowing opportunity when Tovey’s knock down was collected by Robinson, but his pass to the supporting Eadie went astray.
The hosts had to wait until the stroke of half time to get on the scoreboard, as Henson stroked over a penalty from just inside the Falcons half.
The visitors, hunting a potentially vital bonus-point, came out in search of tries and got their third on 45 minutes when Marcus Watson’s dazzling footwork saw him coast in from 30 metres.
Bristol hit back and scored their first try of the afternoon when Jamal Ford-Robinson bundled over from close after quick thinking from Alby Mathewson.
A second try looked a certainty as Bristol piled on the pressure inside the Falcons 22 - but Goneva’s interception and 80 metre cruise sealed an all-important bonus-point for Newcastle with 20 minutes left to play.
Bristol’s second try did eventually arrive on 63 minutes when Jack O’Connell latched on to a delicate offload from replacement Tusi Pisi to score.
But Falcons added a fifth on 74 minutes when Goneva scooped up a loose ball to break clear before passing to Harris in-goal, ending any hopes of a home comeback.
Bristol finished on a high with a quick-fire double, as first Jack Tovey collected Tusi Pisi’s cross-kick to touch down – before Mitch Eadie bowed out in style with late score to cap a man of the match performance from the number eight.
Vereneki Goneva's interception score, when Bristol had looked like clawing their way back into the game with a second try in quick succession, put the game to bed at Ashton Gate and sealed an all-important bonus-point for Newcastle.
The departing Eadie would have loved to bow out with a victory at Ashton Gate - but the back-row did the next best thing, with a man of the match performance in his final game before moving Northampton Saints.
It was a performance full of guts, drive and determination and the sort Bristol fans have come to expect from the academy graduate - capped fittingly with a try in the dying minutes.
Bristol Rugby: Jason Woodward; Ryan Edwards, Will Hurrell, Gavin Henson (Piutau 49), Jack Tovey, Billy Searle (Pisi 49), Alby Mathewson (Uren 59); Jack O’Connell, Marc Jones (c) (Crumpton 59), Gaston Cortes (Ford-Robinson 45), James Phillips (Fenton-Wells 45), Mark Sorenson (Glynn 45), Sam Jeffries, Olly Robinson, Mitch Eadie.
Replacements: Max Crumpton, Ollie Dawe, Jamal Ford-Robinson, Ben Glynn, Nick Fenton-Wells, Andy Uren, Tusi Pisi, Siale Piutau.
Newcastle Falcons: Marcus Watson, Vereniki Goneva, Chris Harris, Juan Pablo Socino, Sinoti Sinoti, Joel Hodgson, Sonatane Takulua; Rob Vickers, Scott Lawson, Jon Welsh, Calum Green, Sean Robinson, Mark Wilson, Will Welch (captain), Opeti Fonua.
Replacements: Kyle Cooper, Ben Harris, Scott Wilson, Will Witty, Callum Chick, Sam Egerton, Craig Willis, Alex Tait.