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Review Of 2016 - Part Two

Hat-tricks, heartache and a Boxing Day bonanza - here's a rundown of the second half of an eventful 2016 at Bristol Rugby. 

July

After impressing against Bristol in both legs of the play-off final, Will Hurrell joined from Doncaster ahead of the 2016/17 season, while Georgian international Giorgi Nemsadze arrived from French club Tarbes.

FEND: Academy scrum half Andy Uren in action at the Singha Sevens (Photo: JMP UK). 

Preparations continued at the Singha Sevens, with Bristol Rugby’s young charges finishing third in Group B at Sandy Park, defeating local rivals Bath along the way.

The squad then travelled to France for a week-long pre-season training camp.

August

Jack Lam was named club captain and Bristol Rugby began their pre-season campaign with a 28-28 draw with Worcester Development XV, with tries from Charlie Amesbury, Marc Jones, Andy Uren and a penalty try.

Two days later, Bristol went down 25-24 to Cardiff Blues in an entertaining pre-season friendly, with Tom Varndell grabbing a brace.

Later in the month, Wales international prop Ryan Bevington joined the club from Ospreys and director of rugby Andy Robinson signed a new contract.

Bristol signed off August with a defeat, as three second-half tries saw them edged out 19-9 by Wasps in their final pre-season fixture.

September

Bristol Rugby’s first Aviva Premiership fixture for seven years ended in a narrow 21-19 defeat to Harlequins at Twickenham – and top-flight rugby’s return to Ashton Gate also ended in defeat for Bristol as they were beaten 32-10 by Northampton Saints.

IN THE CLEAR: Tusi Pisi races away to score against Harlequins at Twickenham (Photo: JMP UK). 

It was an afternoon to forget for Bristol at the Ricoh Arena as Wasps ran in ten tries in a 70-22 defeat – and they would go winless throughout September, with further defeats to Exeter Chiefs and Saracens.

But Bristol United made it back-to-back bonus points wins in the A League, beating Harlequins A and Bath United.

Recruitment continued with hooker Rob Hawkins joining on a short-term deal and the club also confirming the signing of Hurricanes full back Jason Woodward, who would arrive in November.

October

A tough run of results continued as Bristol were edged out 19-14 by Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park and then 33-20 at the hands of Cardiff Blues in the European Challenge Cup.

A 22-6 defeat at the hands of Bath in the same competition was followed by a 31-13 loss to Sale Sharks in the Premiership – and in the A League, Bristol United suffered their first defeat of the campaign, going down 31-29 to Gloucester United at Taunton RFC.

Experienced fly half Shane Geraghty made the switch from London Irish with immediate effect.

November

Bristol Rugby announced that Andy Robinson would leave the club with immediate effect, with Mark Tainton stepping in as acting head coach.

The Anglo-Welsh Cup kicked off with a 31-25 defeat to Worcester Warriors at Sixways, before Bristol stormed to a first win of the season, beating Sale Sharks 26-11 at Ashton Gate.

DREAM DEBUT: Jason Woodward touches down during Bristol's victory over Sale Sharks at Ashton Gate (Photo: JMP UK). 

Bath took the derby spoils with a 16-9 win at the Recreation Ground, while Bristol were then forced to settle for a losing bonus point after being edged out 21-16 by Leicester Tigers.

December

It was a case of too little, too late for Bristol as they fell agonisingly short of a losing bonus point at Kingsholm, going down 26-18 to Gloucester in the first week of December.

Off the field, Pat Lam was appointed as the Club’s new Head Coach, and will join in June ahead of the 2017/18 campaign – chairman Chris Booy declared Lam the ‘outstanding candidate’ to replace Andy Robinson. Another signing was also announced; with Tongan captain Siale Piutau joining in January to bolster the midfield.

APPOINTED: Connacht head coach Pat Lam will join Bristol ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.

Second and third wins of the season soon arrived as Bristol completed the double over French Top 14 side Pau, cruising to a 41-14 triumph at Ashton Gate before a Tom Varndell hat-trick earned a 28-18 win at Stade du Hameau.

But supporters were treated to the perfect Christmas present on Boxing Day – a first Premiership win of the season – as Varndell’s second successive hat-trick inspired Mark Tainton’s men to a 28-20 victory over Worcester at Ashton Gate in the final match of 2016.

HAT-TRICK HERO: Tom Varndell scorches over during Bristol's 28-20 victory over Worcester Warriors (Photo: JMP UK).

Join us for the second half of the season and purchase your tickets online here.

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