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REPORT: Bristol Rugby 28-20 Worcester Warriors

Match Report

Monday, December 26th 2016

Aviva Premiership Rugby

Bristol Rugby 28 - 20 Worcester Warriors*

HT 18-13

Varndell (3) Tries Barry, Hammond
Woodward (2) Conversions Pennell (2)
Woodward (3) Penalties Shillcock, Pennell


Att: 16552

Venue: Ashton Gate

Ref: Wayne Barnes


Bristol Rugby

  • 1 Ryan John Bevington
  • 2 Robert Andrew Hawkins
  • 3 Rodrigo Gaston Cortes
  • 4 Daniel Mark Tuohy
  • 5 Benjamin Edward Glynn
  • 6 Nicholas Sean Fenton-Wells
  • 7 Oliver James Robinson
  • 8 Mitchell William Eadie
  • 9 William Peter Samuel Cliff
  • 10 Billy George Searle
  • 11 Thomas William Varndell
  • 12 Tusiata Pisi
  • 13 William Harry Hurrell
  • 14 Jack Edward Wallace
  • 15 Jason Christopher Woodward


  • 16 Max Christopher Crumpton
  • 17 Kyle Traynor
  • 18 Jamal Michael Ford-Robinson
  • 19 Mark Richard Sorenson
  • 20 James Montague Phillips
  • 21 Rhodri Williams
  • 22 Adrian Thomas Jarvis
  • 23 Thretton Davis Palamo

Worcester Warriors

  • 1 Na'ama Leleimalefaga
  • 2 Jaba Bregvadze
  • 3 Nicholas Peter Schonert
  • 4 Christian Frederique A.G. Scotland-Williamson
  • 5 Darren Michael Barry
  • 6 Dewald Johan Potgieter
  • 7 Samuel Dafydd Lewis
  • 8 Alafoti Faosiliva
  • 9 Michael D. Dowsett
  • 10 James Robert Shillcock
  • 11 Kerry Cooper Vuna
  • 12 Jackson Don Kingi Willison
  • 13 Benjamin J. Te'o
  • 14 Dean Hammond
  • 15 Christopher James Pennell


  • 16 Jack Howard Singleton
  • 17 Ryan Thomas Eyre Bower
  • 18 James Vincent Iopu Johnston
  • 19 William Hayden Spencer
  • 20 Philip David Acton Dowson
  • 21 George William de Cothi
  • 22 Joshua Huw Adams
  • 23 Connor Jackson Braid

Tom Varndell scored his second successive hat-trick as 14-man Bristol Rugby secured a first Aviva Premiership win of the season with a 28-20 victory over Worcester Warriors at Ashton Gate. 

The winger scored twice in the first half before adding a third after the interval, while Jason Woodward kicked 13 points as Bristol secured a third successive win in all competitions - despite playing 65 minutes with 14-men after Tusi Pisi was sent off for a dangerous tackle. 

What happened?

This was a game that burst into life from the first whistle and after Mitch Eadie’s scything line picked a hole in the Worcester midfield, referee Wayne Barnes awarded a penalty to the hosts for an off the ball tackle on Olly Robinson.

Jason Woodward knocked over the three-pointer from close range, but Bristol’s early advantage was soon wiped out when Jamie Shillcock replied in kind for Worcester.

The breakneck speed of play continued and Bristol soon crossed for the afternoon’s opening try, as Searle glided through a gaping hole in the visiting defence before feeding Tom Varndell to coast over. Woodward’s conversion made it 10-3.

Next came a big talking point as the hosts were forced to play the remaining 65 minutes with just 14 men after Tusi Pisi was shown a red card for an alleged dangerous tackle.

TRY TIME: Tom Varndell flies over for the first try of the afternoon at Ashton Gate (Photo: JMP UK). 

The challenge forced Shillcock off for a head injury assessment leaving Chris Pennell to step up and knock over the next penalty for a 10-6 score line.

Warriors soon capitalised on their numerical advantage as Darren Barry ignored a two-man overlap to power over and Pennell’s conversion saw them take a three-point lead.

But that lasted all of five minutes as Bristol hit back in scintillating style, breaking from deep through scrum half Will Cliff, who fed Varndell to skate down the touchline - evading the tackle of the covering Pennell along the way – and sliding into the left-hand corner for his second of the match.

Woodward’s conversion was wide, as was the penalty that followed – but he made no mistake with his next effort, which came after a powerful rolling maul and saw Darren Barry sin-binned, as Bristol extended their lead to 18-13 with half-time approaching.

IN THE CLEAR: Mitch Eadie breaks away during an action-packed first half (Photo: JMP UK).

The second half began a far cagier affair as 14 against 14 played out, before Barry’s return from the bin gave Worcester a boost on 45 minutes.

A ten-minute spell defending the Bristol line came to a close when Nick Fenton-Wells forced a turnover just metres out – and from here, Bristol cleared their lines.

From a centre-field scrum, a wide cutout pass from Searle found Varndell in space and the winger’s chip ahead bounced into the arms of the fly half in support. With Bristol in behind, Worcester were penalised for not rolling away and Woodward’s simple penalty opened up an eight-point cushion.

That was reduced to just a single point on 66 minutes thanks to a stunning solo try from Warriors wing Dean Hammond, who scorched over all of 50 metres, with Pennell knocking over the extras.

But as they had done all afternoon, Bristol responded – and in some style, as Woodward showed nifty footwork to send Varndell in for his second hat-trick in a week. The full back fired over the conversion from out wide and the gap was eight points once again.

An enthralling contest became tense and nervy as time ticked away – and Bristol almost grabbed a fourth try when Varndell knocked on while attempting an interception.

Worcester hammered away at a stubborn Bristol defence as they chased a late score, but it wasn’t to be and the home side held on for third successive win in all competitions and a first in the Aviva Premiership.

Key moment:

Tusi Pisi's red card on 15 minutes could have cost Bristol dear - but instead, it seemed to galvanise them and a gutsy and resilient effort saw them reap full reward with a fine victory. 

Photo of the match:

ON FIRE: Tom Varndell celebrates his second try with Billy Searle (Photo: JMP UK). 

Man of the match: Tom Varndell

The flying winger put on masterclass in finishing and support play as he scorched over for a second hat-trick in as many games. Honourable mention for the outstanding Nick Fenton-Wells, who put in a huge shift for the home side. 

Social media post of the day:

The teams:

Bristol Rugby: Jason Woodward; Jack Wallace, Will Hurrell, Tusi Pisi, Tom Varndell; Billy Searle (Jarvis 75), Will Cliff; Ryan Bevington (Traynor 55), Rob Hawkins (Crumpton 67), Gaston Cortes (Ford-Robinson 64), Dan Tuohy (Phillips 64), Ben Glynn (Sorenson 52), Nick Fenton-Wells, Olly Robinson (c), Mitch Eadie.

Replacements: Max Crumpton, Kyle Traynor, Jamal Ford-Robinson, Mark Sorenson, James Phillips, Rhodri Williams, Adrian Jarvis, Thretton Palamo.

Worcester Warriors: Chris Pennell, Dean Hammond, Ben Te'o, Jackson Willison, Cooper Vuna (Adams 69), Jamie Shillcock (Braid 16), Michael Dowsett; Na'ama Leleimalefaga, Jaba Bregvadze, Nick Schonert (Johnston 75), Christian Scotland-Williamson (Spencer 52), Darren Barry, Dewald Potgieter (C), Sam Lewis, Alafoti Faosiliva (Dowson 58).

Replacements: Jack Singleton, Ryan Bower, James Johnston, Will Spencer, Phil Dowson, George de Cothi, Josh Adams, Connor Braid.

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