- Gallagher Premiership
- Saturday, December 21st 2019
- StoneX Stadium
Will Carpenter reports from StoneX Stadium
Report: Saracens 47-13 Bristol Bears
Sunday, December 22nd 2019
A Saracens blitz at the start of the second half condemned Bristol Bears to a 47-13 defeat at Allianz Park, as Pat Lam’s men suffered just their second league defeat of the Gallagher Premiership season.
Luke Morahan’s try and eight points from the boot of Callum Sheedy had seen Bristol lead just two minutes before half time, but Max Malins’ score edged the hosts in front at the interval.
But the second period was all Saracens, as Mark McCall’s men ran in 33 unanswered points to claim a fifth successive league win.
Mako Vunipola, Nick Tompkins (2), Ben Earl, Brad Barritt and another for man of the match, Malins, put the game out of Bristol’s reach, ending a seven-game unbeaten run for the Bears.
After weathering an early storm in North London, Bristol took a 10th-minute lead when Morahan collected Sheedy’s cross-field kick to touch down, after Uren had intercepted Ben Spencer’s pass inside his own half.
Sheedy converted, but Saracens hit straight back through Mako Vunipola’s converted try on 14 minutes, as the England prop powered over from close range.
Bristol responded, with two Sheedy penalties opening up a six-point lead heading into half time.
But it was Saracens who had the final say of the half, finally capitalising on a long period of pressure courtesy of Malins, whose dummy and step saw him glide in under the posts, with Farrell’s conversion edging the home side in front.
After the break, the home side took firm charge, as first Tompkins and then Earl cut through the Bears defence to touch down and seal the four-try bonus point.
Harry Thacker was sent to the sin bin for pulling down a Saracens maul five metres from the line, and Saracens quickly made the numbers count as Sean Maitland’s offload fell into the hands of Tompkins, via the head of Piers O’Conor, leaving the centre to finish in the corner.
Brad Barritt’s close-range surge made it six for the hosts, before Tompkins completed the scoring with his second, latching on to Barritt’s stabbed kick to score under the posts.
Teams and scorers:
Bristol Bears: C Piutau (Lloyd 61); Morahan (Randall 69), O’Conor, Bedlow (Leiua 59), Fricker; Sheedy, Uren; Woolmore (Lay 63), Thacker, Afoa (Lahiff 54), Joyce, Vui (Holmes 57), Luatua (c) (Hamilton 64), Heenan, Hughes.
Replacements: Capon, Ja Lay, Lahiff, Holmes, Hamilton, Randall, Lloyd, Leiua.
Saracens: Malins, Maitland, Tompkins, Barritt (c), Daly, Farrell, Spencer; M Vunipola, George, Koch, Itoje, Kruis, Isiekwe, Earl, B Vunipola.
Replacements: Singleton, Carre, Lamositele, Skelton, Wray, Wigglesworth, Taylor, Lewington.
Saracens: Tries: M Vunipola 14, Malins 39, 57, Tompkins 45, 70, Earl 48, Barritt 62. Cons: Farrell 14, 39, 45, 48, 62, Daly 70
Bristol Bears: Tries: Morahan 10, Cons: Sheedy 10, Pens: Sheedy 19, 25, Yellow: Thacker 53
Leading 13-7 on 38 minutes, Bristol had to withstand a long period of Saracens pressure inside their own 22.
But with the clock in the red, and with penalty advantage, Max Malins sold a dummy to skip in under the posts and edge the home side in front on the stroke of half time.
It proved to be a key momentum swing, with Saracens eventually running out comfortable winners.
Pat Lam reaction:
Photo of the match:
- Malins (2), Tompkins (2), Barritt, Vunipola, Earl
- Daly, Farrell (5)
- Yellow Cards:
- Sheedy (2)
- Yellow Cards: