• Gallagher Premiership
  • Sunday, October 4th 2020
  • Twickenham Stoop
Club Badge London Irish 7
Club Badge Bristol 36

Match Report

Will Carpenter

Will Carpenter reports from Twickenham Stoop

Posted Sunday, October 4th 2020

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Report: London Irish 7-36 Bristol Bears

Bristol Bears booked their place in the Gallagher Premiership play offs for the first time since 2007 on a dramatic final afternoon at The Stoop.

A bonus-point 7-36 victory over London Irish, combined with Bath’s draw with Saracens, ensured a top-four finish for Pat Lam’s men, with their opponents next weekend still to be decided.

Semi Radradra and Ben Earl touched down for first half tries to give the visitors a 17-0 lead at the interval, before Harry Thacker and a crucial 76th-minute penalty try earned maximum points for the Bears.

Will Capon put the icing on the cake with try number five from another driving lineout – but attention quickly turned to Allianz Park, where a late Saracens converted try sparked celebrations in the Bears camp.


What happened?

In soggy conditions at The Stoop, the Bears opened the scoring on 13 minutes when O’Conor’s incisive break was finished by the supporting Radradra.

Dominating possession and territory, the visitors doubled their lead on the half hour when a well-worked driving lineout saw Earl dart over for his 11th league try of the season.

The Bears almost grabbed a third five minutes before the interval, but after slicing through the Irish defence and crossing the whitewash, Malins spilt the ball over the dead-ball line, before making amends with a well-struck penalty to give his side a 17-point buffer at the break.

Ollie Hassell-Collins’ solo effort pulled one back for Irish, before Thacker applied the finishing touches to a well-constructed driving lineout, putting the Bears within touching distance of the all-important bonus point.

It arrived four minutes from time, as Irish were forced to pull down another rampant Bears maul and referee Karl Dickson went under the posts to award a penalty try.

Will Capon capped an emphatic away win with a carbon copy of Thacker’s try, and with Tim Swinson driving over from close range at Allianz Park, the Bears’ place in the play offs was secure.


Teams and scorers

Bristol Bears: Tries: Radradra 13, Earl 30, Thacker 67, Penalty 76, Capon 80. Cons: Malins 13, 30, 67. Pens: Malins 36

London Irish: Tries: Hassell-Collins 62. Cons: Jackson 62

Bristol Bears: Lloyd (Sheedy 62); Morahan, Radradra (Bedlow 75), S Piutau (c), O’Conor; Malins, Randall (Uren 67); Woolmore (Sinckler 58), Thacker (Capon 74), Afoa (Y Thomas 58), Holmes (Eadie 71), Joyce, Vui, Heenan (Harding 73), Earl.

System players: Capon, Y Thomas, Sinckler, Eadie, Harding, Uren, Sheedy, Bedlow.

London Irish: Homer, Loader, Rona, Cokanasiga, Hassell-Collins, Jackson, Phipps; Dell, Creevy, Kepu, Nott, Munga, Rogerson (c), Cooke, Tuisue.

Replacements: Cornish, Elrington, Hoskins, de Chaves, Donnell, Meehan, Neal, Stokes


Key moment

The all-important bonus point.

The Bears battled away for the fourth try at a rain-soaked Stoop - and it arrived in the form of a penalty try.

Another powerful driving lineout got the edge on Irish, and when the hosts halted the charge illegally, referee Karl Dickson awarded the penalty try to give the Bears a bonus point. 


Pat Lam reaction


Man of the match: Joe Joyce

In one of the biggest games in the club's recent history, it was a Bristolian who stood head and shoulders above everyone else at The Stoop.

Joyce dominated at the set-piece and put in a monstrous shift around the park, as the Bears secured a play off place for the first time in 13 years.


Social media highlights


London Irish

Tries:
Hassell-Collins
Conversions
Jackson
Penalties:
Yellow Cards:
Donnell

Bristol

Tries:
Radradra, Thacker, Earl, Capon
Conversions:
Malins (3)
Penalties:
Malins
Yellow Cards:
  • KO: 3PM
  • Att: 0
  • Venue: Twickenham Stoop
  • Ref: Karl Dickson

London Irish

  • Tom Homer
  • Ben Loader
  • Curtis Rona
  • Phil Cokanasiga
  • Ollie Hassell-Collins
  • Paddy Jackson
  • Nick Phipps
  • Allan Dell
  • Agustin Creevy
  • Sekope Kepu
  • George Nott
  • Chunya Munga
  • Matt Rogerson
  • Jack Cooke
  • Albert Tuisue

Substitutes

  • Matt Cornish
  • Harry Elrington
  • Oli Hoskins
  • Sebastian De Chaves
  • Ben Donnell
  • Ben Meehan
  • Ross Neal
  • James Stokes

Bristol

  • Ioan Lloyd
  • Luke Morahan
  • Semi Radradra
  • Siale Piutau
  • Piers O'Conor
  • Max Malins
  • Harry Randall
  • Jake Woolmore
  • Harry Thacker
  • John Afoa
  • Ed Holmes
  • Joe Joyce
  • Chris Vui
  • Jake Heenan
  • Ben Earl

Substitutes

  • Will Capon
  • Yann Thomas
  • Kyle Sinckler
  • Mitch Eadie
  • Fitz Harding
  • Andy Uren
  • Callum Sheedy
  • Sam Bedlow

Match Overview

Scorers

London Irish

  • Hassell-Collins
  • ,
  • Jackson

Bristol

  • Radradra
  • ,
  • Malins (1)
  • ,
  • Thacker
  • ,
  • Earl
  • ,
  • Capon

Yellow Cards

London Irish

  • Donnell

Line Up

London Irish

  • Homer
  • ,
  • Loader
  • ,
  • Rona
  • ,
  • Cokanasiga
  • ,
  • Hassell-Collins
  • ,
  • Jackson
  • ,
  • Phipps
  • ,
  • Dell
  • ,
  • Creevy
  • ,
  • Kepu
  • ,
  • Nott
  • ,
  • Munga
  • ,
  • Rogerson
  • ,
  • Cooke
  • ,
  • Tuisue
  • ,
  • Cornish
  • ,
  • Elrington
  • ,
  • Hoskins
  • ,
  • De Chaves
  • ,
  • Donnell
  • ,
  • Meehan
  • ,
  • Neal
  • ,
  • Stokes

Bristol

  • Lloyd
  • ,
  • Morahan
  • ,
  • Radradra
  • ,
  • Piutau
  • ,
  • O'Conor
  • ,
  • Malins
  • ,
  • Randall
  • ,
  • Woolmore
  • ,
  • Thacker
  • ,
  • Afoa
  • ,
  • Holmes
  • ,
  • Joyce
  • ,
  • Vui
  • ,
  • Heenan
  • ,
  • Earl
  • ,
  • Capon
  • ,
  • Thomas
  • ,
  • Sinckler
  • ,
  • Eadie
  • ,
  • Harding
  • ,
  • Uren
  • ,
  • Sheedy
  • ,
  • Bedlow