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REPORT: Bristol United 24-14 London Irish

Bristol United began their Aviva A-League campaign with a 24-14 defeat of London Irish on Monday.

In front of over five-hundred supporters at Clifton RFC, James Stephenson and Auguy Slowik touched down either side of half time, while Callum Sheedy added eight points with the boot.

It was two well-struck Sheedy penalties handed Bristol an early advantage, but London Irish hit back with the first try of the game.

Connor Murphy who got his name on the scoresheet, dabbing down after breaking blind and leaving the Bristol defence in his wake.

In an entertaining first half, the home side went back in front courtesy of a stunning team try. Started by George Watkins’ break, Craig Hampson and Max Cresswell combined to put James Stephenson over the whitewash.

Sheedy saw a third penalty attempt ricochet off the upright as Bristol surged forward, but it was London Irish who went in at half-time leading as Jimmy Stevens muscled his way over from a driving lineout.

The hosts soaked up a lot of pressure in the second period, before Craig Hampson’s fine 40-metre charge resulted in Auguy Slowik sliding over the whitewash for an unconverted try.

Callum Sheedy directed two penalty attempts wide of the target as conditions worsened, but the visitors lost Luke Frost to the sin-bin with ten minutes remaining and Bristol took full advantage.

Replacement fly half Sam Katz struck a three pointer and, after pressure at the scrum deep in Irish territory, the trialist from El Salvador added a second penalty to seal the impressive win.

Bristol United:

Auguy Slowik; George Watkins, Tommaso Benvenuti, Nick Carpenter, Charlie Amesbury; Callum Sheedy, Craig Hampson; Kyle Traynor, James Stephenson, Jamal Ford-Robinson, Max Cresswell (Clifton RFC), John Hawkins, Ellis Genge, Max Crumpton, Jack Davies (Bath Uni).

Replacements: Ben Gompels (Clifton RFC), James Hall, Louis Wolf (Clifton RFC), Olly Dunn (Bridgwater RFC), Tom Beck (Cardiff Met Uni), Andy Uren, Sam Katz (El Salvador), Darren Hudson.

London Irish:

Andrew Fenby; Ross Neal, Fergus Mulchrone, Dom Wauldock, Ciaran Hearn; Christian Lewis-Pratt, Connor Murphy; Harry Elrington, Jimmy Stevens, Geoff Cross, Gavin Bilton, Adam Sinclair, Ollie Curry, Luke Frost, Sentiki Nayoko.

Replacements: Curtis Langdon, Johnny Harris, Ken Dowding, Tom Cruse, Harry Broadbent, Seb Rodwell, Jacob Atkins, George De Cothi.

Referee: Neil Chivers