- Gallagher Premiership
- Sunday, March 21st 2021
- Franklin's Gardens
Will Carpenter reports from Franklin's Gardens
Report: Northampton Saints 21-28 Bristol Bears
Sunday, March 21st 2021
Bristol Bears scored twice in the final five minutes to snatch a dramatic bonus-point win at Franklin’s Gardens on Sunday.
In a remarkable finale, Luke Morahan’s try and Sam Bedlow’s touchline conversion levelled the scores with five minutes left to play – and immediately from the restart, Fitz Harding’s break and pinpoint pass located Andy Uren, and the scrum-half raced clear to earn all five points for Pat Lam’s men.
Earlier in the piece, tries from Henry Purdy and Siva Naulago had fired the Bears into a 14-0 lead, only for a revitalised Saints to hit back with 21 unanswered points, courtesy of scores from Nick Isiekwe, George Furbank and 11 points from the boot of James Grayson.
But after Morahan’s converted try, Harding scooped up a loose ball and fed Uren to seal the unlikeliest of bonus-point wins.
A scoreless opening 20 minutes was far from a true reflection of the action on show, as both sides began with ambition and style on a dry track at the Gardens.
It took until the 26th minute for the deadlock to be broken – Leiua with the inside pass to a steaming Purdy, whose left-footed step and acceleration took him under the sticks.
The Bears had their second six minutes later courtesy of Naulago, who darted over from close range following a well-worked lineout drive. Eden converted for 14-0.
Saints had the final say of an action-packed half when Grayson’s floated pass found Isiekwe in space, and the blindside powered over in the corner.
The hosts carried that momentum into the second period to hit the Bears with a 14-point blitz straight after the interval. Grayson landed three penalties to add to Furbank’s well-worked score down the left flank and completely turn the tables.
The Saints number 10 then saw another effort at goal drift wide and from here, the Bears finally hit their stride. Uren’s 27-metre pass found Morahan in space to score try number three, with Bedlow’s stunning touchline conversion levelling the scores.
And straight from the restart came the decisive moment. Harding’s pick up, break and pinpoint pass found Uren, and the scrum half sprinted in to bag all five points for the Bears.
Northampton Saints: Furbank; Proctor, Dingwall, Hutchinson, Freeman; Grayson, James; Waller (c), Matavesi, Hill, Coles, Ratuniyarawa, Isiekwe, Wood, Harrison.
Replacements: Haywood, Auterac, Painter, Moon, Tonks, Taylor, Francis, Mallinder,
Bristol Bears: Purdy; Adeolokun (Morahan 52), O'Conor, Leiua, Naulago; Eden (Bedlow 57), Uren; Y Thomas (Woolmore 57), Byrne (Capon 57), Afoa (Lahiff 64), Joyce (Holmes 69), Vui, Luatua (c), D Thomas, Hughes (Harding 50).
Replacements: Capon, Woolmore, Lahiff, Holmes, Harding, Kessell, Bedlow, Morahan.
Northampton Saints: Tries: Isiekwe 40, Furbank 56. Cons: Grayson 40. Pens: Grayson 46, 49, 59
Bristol Bears: Tries: Purdy 26, Naulago 32, Morahan 75, Uren 78. Cons: Eden 26, 32, Bedlow 75, 78
Most people will point to Uren's winning score, and rightly so. But don't underplay the impact of Bedlow's touchline conversion following Luke Morahan's try. From the right-hand touchline, the replacement fired over a sensational kick to level the scores and set up Uren's grandstand finish.
Pat Lam reaction
🗣️ "Unbelievable character from the boys."— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) March 21, 2021
Pat Lam says his team are learning how to find a way to win 👇 pic.twitter.com/12gMcCoIxz
Man of the match: Andy Uren
The winning score and a very lively performance from Andy Uren at Franklin's Gardens.
The scrum-half also provided a pinpoint 27-metre pass for Luke Morahan's equalising try late on, before taking centre stage with the killer blow.
Social media reaction
The boys most certainly had my back today. Love these guys. Up the Bears @BristolBears 🐻— Steven Luatua (@StevenLuatua) March 21, 2021
"Trailing by 7⃣ with less than 5⃣ to play, there's no way they'll get a bonus point win from here..."— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) March 21, 2021
UP THE BEARS! 🐻pic.twitter.com/iWHejYBi4V
- Furbank, Isiekwe
- Grayson (3)
- Yellow Cards:
- Purdy, Naulago, Uren, Morahan
- Eden (2), Bedlow (2)
- Yellow Cards: