- Gallagher Premiership
- Saturday, December 26th 2020
- Twickenham Stoop
Will Carpenter reports from Twickenham Stoop
Report: Harlequins 19-27 Bristol Bears
Saturday, December 26th 2020
A resurgent second-half performance saw Bristol Bears fight back to earn a first Gallagher Premiership victory over Harlequins at the Stoop for 19 years, claiming the bonus point in the process on Boxing Day.
Dan Thomas’ try on the stroke of half time began the Bears comeback after three Marcus Smith penalties had fired Quins into a commanding lead.
Luatua crossed early in the second half after Randall’s quickly taken penalty, before the scrum half found his way to the line for the Bears’ third, after Smith and Sheedy had traded penalties.
Niyi Adeolokun’s first try in Bristol colours sealed the bonus point, as Pat Lam’s men secured all five points in West London, despite Smith’s late consolation for Quins.
The Bears were on the attack from the first kick off, retaining possession from their own restart before Hughes was held up over the whitewash.
Two repelled lineout drives followed as Quins scrambled to keep the Bears out, while at the other end, Marcus Smith notched the first points of the afternoon, converting back-to-back penalties to open up a six-point lead for the hosts.
The fly half’s third successful kick made it 9-0 – and Quins afternoon looked to have improved further when Wilco Louw barged over from close range, only for a TMO referral to offer the Bears let-off.
When Lam’s side finally clicked, it was typically spectacular – Luatua and Dan Thomas trading passes to send the openside over in the left-hand corner on the stroke of half time and claw the visitors back into the contest.
They continued in that vein after the break, with Luatua racing on Randall’s pass after a trademark tap penalty from the livewire scrum half.
And Randall went from provider to scorer for the Bears’ third, following up a monster carry from Hughes in midfield to snipe his way to the line.
The bonus-point arrived 14 minutes from time with Luatua again involved – the captain’s one-handed offload locating the fleet-footed Adeolokun to race in and all but seal the game for the Bears.
Marcus Smith went over for a late consolation with the final play, but it was the Bears who left West London with maximum points and a first away victory over Quins since September 2001.
Harlequins: Brown; Lynagh, Lang, Tapuai, R Chisholm; Smith, Care; Els, Baldwin, Louw, Lamb, Young, J Chisholm, Evans, Dombrandt (c).
Replacements: Elia, Garcia Botta, Kerrod, Tizard, Lawday, Landajo, Anyanwu, Green.
Bristol: Malins (Adeolokun 29); Naulago, Radradra (Uren 74), O'Conor, Lloyd (Leiua 70); Sheedy, Randall; Y Thomas (Woolmore 57), Capon (Byrne 45), Afoa (Lahiff 57), Attwood (Joyce 57), Holmes, Luatua (c) (Heenan 67), D Thomas, Hughes.
Replacements: Byrne, Woolmore, Lahiff, Joyce, Heenan, Uren, Leiua, Adeolokun.
Harlequins: Tries: Smith 80. Cons: Smith 80. Pens: Smith 7, 17, 24, 47
Bristol Bears: Tries: D Thomas 40, Luatua 45, Randall 55, Adeolokun 66. Cons: Sheedy 45, 66. Pens: Sheedy 50
After a slow start at The Stoop, the Bears got themselves on the board on the stroke of half time courtesy of Dan Thomas, trading passes with Steven Luatua and winning the race for the line.
It kick-started the Bears' comeback, as they battled to a bonus-point win in West London.
Pat Lam reaction
🔊 Pat Lam on...— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) December 26, 2020
😡 Half-time hairdryer treatment
💪 The impressive Steven Luatua
🗓 Preparation for 2021
When the @BristolBears DoR speaks, you listen. Always interesting!#GallagherPrem pic.twitter.com/e8drEaze9q
Man of the match: Dan Thomas
As well as the game's opening try, Dan Thomas was busy on both sides of the ball, providing a lovely balance to the back row.
The openside enjoyed some lovely touches in the loose, including the inside pass to Luatua and return for his try, as well as winning a turnover and topping the tackle count with 17.
Social media reaction
A good day at the office. 👔— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) December 26, 2020
UP THE BLOODY BEARS! 🐻 pic.twitter.com/wW4kETKfEH
First win for @BristolBears at the Stoop in any game since the Heineken cup game 8th December 2007 and first league win since 8th September 2001.— Neil Williams (@BrisRugStatto) December 26, 2020
- Smith (4)
- Yellow Cards:
- Randall, Luatua, Thomas, Adeolokun
- Sheedy (2)
- Yellow Cards: