- The Championship
- Saturday, November 11th 2017
- Ashton Gate
Will Carpenter reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol Rugby 55-10 Rotherham Titans
Sunday, November 12th 2017
Bristol Rugby racked up fifty points for the second time this season as they brushed aside Rotherham Titans in an eight-try 55-10 demolition at Ashton Gate on Saturday.
Pat Lam’s rampant side wrapped up the bonus point within 29 minutes as scores from Ross McMillan, Tusi Pisi and Joe Joyce followed a 14th-minute penalty try, after Caolan Ryan’s penalty had given Titans an early lead.
Aside from Rhodri Davies' late consolation, that was as good as it got for the visitors, as a second penalty try, Luke Morahan, Jason Harris-Wright and Tom Varndell wrapped up an eighth successive league win for the hosts, with Callum Sheedy’s drop goal – to go with his four conversions - completing the scoring.
Siale Piutau made his long-awaited return from injury following a three-month lay-off, while highly-rated trio Mat Protheroe, Callum Sheedy and Andy Uren came into an exciting backline. Ross McMillan returned to the front row, with Joe Batley included at lock and Jordan Crane recovering from a knee injury to start at number eight and captain the side.
It was Rotherham who took the lead in front of more than 8,000 supporters at Ashton Gate, when fly half Caolan Ryan landed a 3rd-minute penalty after Dan Thomas had infringed at the ruck.
But Bristol soon hit their stride and a second successive surge at scrum time saw referee Adam Leal award a penalty try.
Ross McMillan broke free from another such drive to stretch over for Bristol’s second on 18 minutes, before the best of a 12-minute salvo arrived courtesy of Tusi Pisi, as the Samoan centre crashed over in the corner after a beautiful interchange from Tom Varndell and Callum Sheedy in a congested five-metre channel.
Joe Joyce marked his 50th competitive appearance for the club with a try on 29 minutes, galloping in from ten metres after Sheedy’s inside pass had freed up the impressive Sam Jeffries.
Early in the second half, Rotherham were dealt another blow when replacement prop, Tom Williams was sent to the sin-bin – and Bristol took immediate advantage, as Dan Thomas and Andy Uren combined to send Luke Morahan in from a well-executed set-piece play.
Jason Harris-Wright picked through the heart of a ruck to score Bristol’s seventh on 61 minutes, before Madigan’s sensational flick pass – under pressure from Titans’ wing Jake Henry – allowed Tom Varndell to fly in the corner for the hosts’ eighth and final try.
Titans replacement, Rhodri Davies' quickly-taken penalty caught Bristol napping late on, as the scrum half flew over from 30 metres to offer the visitors some consolation.
But Sheedy’s late drop goal completed a commanding win for Pat Lam’s side, who maintain their 100% record in the Greene King IPA Championship.
A 12-minute, three-try salvo put this game to bed before half time, as Ross McMillan, Tusi Pisi and Joe Joyce touched down to open up a 26-3 half-time lead, after a 14th-minute penalty try had started the hosts’ scoring. It was a lead Bristol would never look like squandering, eventually running out comprehensive winners.
Man of the match: Siale Piutau
What a way to mark your first appearance of the season. The Tongan centre was in destructive form at Ashton Gate, leaving some huge hits on Rotherham, with and without the ball.
Piutau has missed the first two months of the season with a calf injury sustained in pre-season, but looked fully fit and in fine fettle in BS3, carrying hard over the gain line to set up Joe Joyce’s first half try.
The centre left to the field on 62 minutes to a huge – and deserved - round of applause from the 8,000+ supporters at Ashton Gate. A superb showing from Piutau.
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Bristol Rugby: Mat Protheroe; Luke Morahan, Siale Piutau, Tusi Pisi, Tom Varndell; Callum Sheedy, Andy Uren; Soane Tonga’uiha, Ross McMillan, Nicky Thomas, Joe Joyce, Joe Batley, Sam Jeffries, Dan Thomas, Jordan Crane (c).
Replacements: Jason Harris-Wright, Jack O’Connell, Gaston Cortes, Steven Luatua, Rhodri Williams, Ian Madigan, Will Hurrell.
Rotherham Titans: Will Thomas, Drew Cheshire, Yiannis Loizias, Luke Peters, Jake Henry, Caolan Ryan, Francisco Vieira, Toby Williams, Luke Cole, Matt Shields, Rob Louw, Byron Hodge, Adam Peters, Tom Calladine (c), Tom Burns.
Replacements: Charlie Maddison, Tom Williams, Brandon Palmer, Dan Grange, Ifereimi Boladau, Rhodri Davies, Lee Millar.
- McMillan, Joyce, Varndell, Pisi, Morahan, Harris-Wright
- Sheedy (4)
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