- Gallagher Premiership
- Saturday, February 23rd 2019
- Twickenham Stoop
Will Carpenter reports from Twickenham Stoop
Report: Harlequins 36-26 Bristol Bears
Saturday, February 23rd 2019
Alapati Leiua’s 79th-minute try earned Bristol Bears a consolation bonus-point on the road, but it was Harlequins who took the spoils at The Stoop from an exhilarating Gallagher Premiership clash in south-west London.
The Samoan powered over for his second of the afternoon, after Protheroe had scooped up Madigan’s kick through, to seal a fifth try bonus-point of the season for Pat Lam’s men, who were left to rue a 10-minute Quins blitz before half-time.
The afternoon started brightly for Bristol as Charles Piutau evaded the covering Mike Brown to touch down for the first try of the afternoon. But Quins hit back straight from the kick-off with Ross Chisholm winning the race to Joe Marchant’s stabbed kick.
Leiua grabbed his first of the afternoon on 19 minutes, collecting Sheedy’s floated pass to restore Bristol’s lead, but Marcus Smith glided through a gap and added the conversion to edge the hosts back in front with only 25 minutes played.
Mike Brown scored Quins’ third and Marchant added a fourth five minutes before the interval to put Paul Gustard’s side firmly in the driving seat at half-time.
Sheedy sprinted in from 40 metres after Charles Piutau’s initial break to reduce the deficit, but James Lang’s penalty and Nathan Earles’ 76th-minute try looked to be sending Bristol home empty-handed.
But Madigan’s grubber fell nicely for Protheroe and the replacement released Leiua for a crucial fourth try just a minute from time.
On a glorious afternoon in Twickenham, it was Bristol who struck the first blow when Piutau evaded Brown to dot down after the first of four clean breaks from Bristol’s man of the match, Sheedy.
That was quickly undone by Quins’ opening score, with Marchant scooping up a loose ball that had squirmed out the side of the ruck and stabbing a perfectly weighted kick for the onrushing Chisholm.
Leiua’s went over for his first with Bristol playing penalty advantage, as Sheedy once again turned creator in The Stoop sunshine.
But Smith’s 25th-minute try kicked off a period of three tries in ten minutes for the hosts, with Elia Elia and Dombrandt combining in the build-up to Brown’s score.
A spilt ball in midfield then saw Ben Glynn release the supporting Marchant as Quins wrapped up the bonus-point before half-time with a 26-12 lead at the break.
The relentless scoring took a 20-minute timeout before Piutau launched yet another dazzling counter attack on the hour mark. The full-back found Andy Uren who in turn released Sheedy, and the fly-half raced away from the covering James Chisholm to reduce the deficit to just seven points.
But Lang’s long-range penalty extended the Quins advantage, before Earle squeezed in the corner two minutes from time to put the end result beyond doubt.
Bristol though, kept fighting and after forcing a turnover inside the hosts’ half, Madigan and Protheroe joined forces to set up Leiua, whose powerful finish added another point to the Bristol tally.
Teams & scorers
Harlequins: Tries: R Chisholm 13, Smith 25, Brown 31, Marchant 35, Earle 76. Cons: Smith 13, 25, 35, Lang 76. Pens: Lang 66
Bristol Bears: Tries: C Piutau 11, Leiua 19, 79, Sheedy 61. Cons: Sheedy 11, 61, Madigan 79
Bristol Bears: C Piutau (Protheroe 62); Daniels, O’Conor, S Piutau (cc), Leiua; Sheedy (Madigan 63), Randall (Uren 53); Woolmore (Y Thomas 62), Parry (Thacker 40), Afoa (Thiede 66), Batley, Vui, Luatua (Haining 66), Smith (D Thomas 49), Crane (cc). Replacements: Thacker, Y Thomas, Thiede, Haining, D Thomas, Uren, Madigan, Protheroe.
Harlequins: Brown, Earle, Marchant, Tapuai (Saili 64), R Chisholm, Smith (Lang 49), Mulchrone; Marler (Boyce 49), Elia Elia (Ward 59), Collier, Glynn, Horwill, Clifford (J Chisholm 56), Robshaw, Dombrandt. Replacements: Ward, Boyce, Swainston, Merrick, J Chisholm, Lewis, Lang, Saili.
After starting brightly at The Stoop with tries from Charles Piutau and Alapati Leiua, Quins sparked into life with three tries in ten minutes before half-time, to seal a bonus-point and open up a 26-12 lead at the break.
Pat Lam's side fought valiantly in the second-half, but it was the Quins blitz before the interval that proved decisive.
Man of the match: Callum Sheedy
This was an outstanding display from Bristol's young fly-half, with Sheedy pulling the strings and orchestrating some fine tries for the visitors.
The 23-year-old made four clean line breaks during his 64 minutes on the pitch, including an impressive solo score from all of 40 metres.
Photo of the match:
Social media posts of the match:
- Brown, Earle, Marchant, Chisholm, Smith
- Smith (3), Lang
- Yellow Cards:
- Piutau, Leiua (2), Sheedy
- Sheedy (2), Madigan
- Yellow Cards: