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Match Report

Tom Tainton

Tom Tainton reports from

Posted Saturday, December 15th 2018

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Report: La Rochelle 3-13 Bristol Bears

Bristol Bears recorded one of the most famous European victories in the club’s history with a dogged 13-3 victory over La Rochelle.

In torrential conditions, Jordan Crane’s second half try and a committed defensive display ensured the visitors kept their Challenge Cup hopes alive.

What happened?

Bristol Bears almost went ahead on the ten-minute mark when Jake Heenan burst clear, only for the back rower’s touchdown to be ruled out for an adjudged knock-on.

Then, after Ryan Lamb was sin-binned for a deliberate knock on, Callum Sheedy struck the resulting penalty to put the visitors in front.

Spurred by a noisy home support, La Rochelle had a try of their own disallowed for an adjudged knock-on in the build-up, before Arthur Retiere levelled proceedings with a three pointer.

With Bears in the ascendancy, Nic Stirzaker was held up over the line as Bristol sensed a try-scoring opportunity close to the whitewash.

Instead, the visitors were made to settle for a successful Sheedy penalty, moving the score to 3-6.

Solid defence kept La Rochelle at bay in the closing stages of the first period as Pat Lam’s men went into the sheds with a narrow advantage.

Bristol started the second half in perfect fashion when skipper Jordan Crane pounced on Nick Haining’s chargedown to burrow over for a converted score.

In the final five minutes, Jake Woolmore saw yellow for a professional foul, while Jean Charles Orioli had a try ruled out as Frank Murphy ruled that the grounding was short.

La Rochelle continued to press, but Bristol’s defensive line – led by the superb Joe Joyce – held firm for a memorable win.

The teams:

La Rochelle:

15. Arthur Retiere; 14. Jérémy Sinzelle, 13. Brieuc Plessis-Couillaud, 12. Pierre Aguillon (c), 11. Elliot Roudil; 10. Ryan Lamb, 9. Tawera Kerr Barlow; 1. Dany Priso, 2. Hikairo Forbes, 3. Sila Puafisi, 4. Romain Sazy, 5. William Demotte, 6. Grégory Alldritt, 7. Paul Boudehent, 8. Kevin Gourdon.

Replacements: 16. Jean-Charles Orioli, 17. Mike Corbel, 18. Mohamed Boughanmi, 19. Jone Qovu Nailiko, 20. Wiaan Liebenberg, 21. Alexi Bales, 22. Ihaia West, 23. Levani Botia.

Bristol Bears:

15. Mat Protheroe; 14. Tom Pincus, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Sam Bedlow, 11. Charlie Powell; 10. Callum Sheedy (co-capt), 9. Nic Stirzaker; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Shaun Malton, 3. Lewis Thiede, 4. Ed Holmes, 5. Joe Joyce, 6. Nick Haining, 7. Jake Heenan, 8. Jordan Crane (co-capt).

Replacements: 16. Nick Fenton-Wells (Shaun Malton, 55 mins), 17. Ollie Dawe (Mat Protheroe, 80 mins), 18. Jake Armstrong (Lewis Thiede, 58 mins), 19. John Hawkins, 20. Sam Graham (Nick Haining, 58 mins), 21. Andy Uren (Nic Stirzaker, 56 mins), 22. Tiff Eden (Sam Bedlow, 40 mins), 23. Luke Daniels (Charlie Powell, 75 mins).

Social media post of the day:

Yellow Cards:

Yellow Cards:
  • KO: 12AM
  • Att:
  • Venue:
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