- Gallagher Premiership
- Friday, August 21st 2020
Will Carpenter reports from Kingsholm
Report: Gloucester Rugby 24-33 Bristol Bears
Friday, August 21st 2020
Bristol Bears ran in five tries to earn a record-breaking seventh successive Gallagher Premiership win and a first at Kingsholm in more than 14 years.
Inspired by the phenomenal Semi Radradra, Pat Lam’s men raced to the bonus point inside half an hour, with the Fijian centre providing assists for debutant Max Malins and then Henry Purdy, before powering over for a try of his own, after Harry Thacker had grabbed the Bears’ third.
Gloucester hit back with tries from Fraser Balmain and Chris Harris to trail by 12 points at the interval, and a Billy Twelvetrees penalty early in the second period reduced the deficit to nine points.
But Ben Earl’s first Bears try on his full debut for the club all but sealed the deal for the visitors, before Stephen Varney added a late consolation for the Cherry and Whites.
The win strengthens the Bears’ hold on second place in the Gallagher Premiership and completes a unique West Country clean sweep, with home and away victories over Bath and Gloucester for the first time since 1967.
The Bears raced out of the blocks at Kingsholm and crossed for the opening score after just six minutes, as Sheedy’s grubber kick was latched on to by Alapati Leiua, and the wing’s delicate pass to Siale Piutau had the visitors on the front foot. The resulting phase reached Radradra in wide open space, and the centre’s draw and pass sent Malins in for a try with his very first touch for the club.
Radradra was in unstoppable mood and a sensational break and offload sent Purdy over at his old stomping ground as Bristol took full control.
A third followed soon after when Thacker touched down from a powerful driving lineout, before Gloucester hit back through Balmain for the game’s fourth try inside 25 minutes.
Radradra capped a remarkable first-half display with his first try for the club, racing on to Piutau’s pass and stretching for the line to give the Bears a 19-point cushion on 29 minutes.
Harris’ razor-sharp line saw him cruise in under the posts to narrow the advantage, but it was the Bears in charge at the interval.
Gloucester were first on the board after the break as Twelvetrees landed a penalty from 40 metres to leave the Cherry and Whites sniffing a comeback.
But Earl collected Uren’s flat pass to spin his way out of contact and touch down under the posts for a fifth Bristol try, with Sheedy’s fourth conversion of the evening making it 17-33 with 25 minutes left to play.
Varney took advantage of a fine surge from Ollie Thorley to give Gloucester the final say, but it didn’t take the gloss off of another dominant display from Lam’s Bears.
Teams and scorers
Bristol Bears: Malins; Leiua (Morahan 68), Radradra, S Piutau, Purdy; Sheedy (Eden 60), 9 Uren (Randall 65); Woolmore, (Lahiff 46) Thacker (Capon 55), Sinckler (Y Thomas 60), Joyce (Holmes 54), Vui, Luatua (c) (D Thomas 57), Earl, Hughes.
System players: Capon, Y Thomas, Lahiff, Holmes, D Thomas, Randall, Eden, Morahan.
Gloucester Rugby: Rees-Zammit, Thorley, Harris, Twelvetrees, May, Cipriani, Simpson; Rapava-Ruskin, Singleton, 3 Balmain, Slater, Garvey, Ackermann, Ludlow (c), Polledri
Replacements: Marais, Mulipola, Stanley, Drake, Clement, Varney, Seabrook, Sharples
Gloucester: Tries: Balmain 25, Harris 31, Varney 71. Cons: Twelvetrees 25, 31, Cipriani 71. Pens: Twelvetrees 42
Bristol Bears: Tries: Malins 6, Purdy 11, Thacker 18, Radradra 29, Earl 50. Cons: Sheedy 11, 18, 29, 50
After a blistering start from the Bears saw them storm into a three-try lead, Fraser Balmain's close-range effort looked to have taken a bit of sting out of the opening period.
But with two assists already under his belt, Semi Radradra showed his class once again to score his first try for the club, scorching on to Siale Piutau's flat pass and stretching his way to the line for the bonus-point score.
Pat Lam reaction
🎥| "I'm pleased for Bristol supporters and that we got the five points but we made some errors and kept them in the game. There's still work to do."— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) August 21, 2020
Pat Lam pushing for more from his Bears team 👇 pic.twitter.com/62LA7yqSuT
Man of the match: Semi Radradra
Radradra was out of this world on only his second outing for the Bears, running 130 metres from 16 carries, with two assists, two turnovers and one try.
The flying Fijian showed pace, power, slight of hand and an eye for the line in a quite sensational display.
Social media highlights
It is safe to say that Semi Radradra has announced himself in the Premiership. It wasn't a case of 'if' it was a case of 'when' pic.twitter.com/hZFtjONUCy— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) August 21, 2020
Things you love to see: it. pic.twitter.com/CxUMEEbNFK— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) August 21, 2020
As good as Radradra has been, Nathan Hughes has been my man of the match so far.— RugbyInsideLine (@RugbyInsideLine) August 21, 2020
He's bulked up again during lockdown and it's showing. Gloucester players flying everywhere!
☝️the 🐻s - 7 on the bounce - well done to everyone involved 🙌. Keep it rolling. This is Bears Country! 🐻 https://t.co/OWve4F7tEh— Jon Lansdown (@JonLansdown) August 21, 2020
- Harris, Balmain, Varney
- Twelvetrees (2), Cipriani
- Yellow Cards:
- Malins, Radradra, Purdy, Thacker, Earl
- Sheedy (4)
- Yellow Cards: