Bristol outplay Worcester to move up to second
PREMIERSHIP FRIDAY WRAP: Bristol Bears scores 26 unanswered points in the second half to thump Worcester Warriors 36-13 at Sixways on Friday.
The visitors ran in five tries for the bonus-point win which moved them up to second in the Premiership standings.
In Friday’s other match, Exter Chiefs edged Northampton Saints 22-19 at Franklin’s Gardens.
Trailing 13-10 at the interval after Ed Holmes’ converted try was cancelled out by Malani Nanai and eight points from Duncan Weir, Pat Lam’s men sprung into life with four tries to earn a fourth bonus-point win of the season.
Dan Thomas started the second-half spree from a driving line-out, before Siale Piutau scythed through the Warriors’ defence to touch down just six minutes later.
Immediately from the restart, Ben Earl saw his try ruled out for a foot in touch from Henry Purdy, but after Andy Uren had sealed the bonus-point, the on-loan flanker took full advantage of Steven Luatua’s turnover to cap a memorable second 40 at Sixways.
Pat Lam’s men made a lively start at Sixways and took the lead courtesy of Holmes’ close-range surge, after Siale Piutau’s break and offload to the lively Harry Randall took the Bears inside the Warriors 22.
Weir then saw his penalty drift wide, before Kyle Sinckler and Luke Morahan combined to deny Anton Bressler in the corner, as the hosts responded from their early setback.
The Warriors flyhalf made no mistake with his second penalty after a break from Noah Heward – and the Bears were given another let off on the half-hour mark when Semi Radradra nudged Howe into touch inches before the line.
But after a prolonged period of pressure, the hosts finally got their reward, as Duncan Weir’s stabbed kick was hacked forward by Heward and Nanai won the race to touch down, with Weir’s conversion edging them in front.
The Scottish number ten was on target again on 34 minutes after a high tackle, but the Bears hit back through another Randall dart, as Charles Piutau was adjudged held up by referee Wayne Barnes. From the resulting scrum, the Bears won the penalty and Callum Sheedy nudged over to reduce deficit to three points.
There was still time for another Bears charge, as Sheedy’s kick took play inside the Warriors 22 and a powerful drive at the line-out had the home side in retreat – but when the ball was moved left, Sinckler was unable to ground and the home side survived to enter the break narrowly ahead.
The second half saw the Bears shift into gear with Dan Thomas touching down from a driving line-out on 45 minutes to edge back in front.
It got even better for Lam’s men six minutes later when Siale Piutau, sensational throughout, scorched on to Uren’s flat pass to cruise in under the posts.
The Bears thought they had grabbed the bonus point straight from the restart, as Radradra and Purdy traded passes to send Earl in at the corner. A long TMO consultation followed before Purdy was deemed to have had a foot in touch.
But they weren’t to be denied a deserved fourth try, with O’Conor forcing the ball loose and Uren scooping up and racing for the line.
A fantastic fifth followed – Luatua forcing the turnover and Earl ensuring he would be on the scoresheet to cap an 11th Premiership win of the season.
A late melee saw Andrew Kitchener sent off for a cheap punch on the floor, while Siale Piutau was shown yellow, but it wasn’t enough to take the gloss off a rampant second half for the Bears.
Worcester Warriors 13-36 Bristol Bears
For Worcester Warriors:
Pens: Weir 2
For Bristol Bears:
Tries: Holmes, Thomas, S Piutau, Earl, Uren
Cons: Sheedy 4
Red card: Andrew Kitchener (Worcester Warriors, 80)
Yellow card: Siale Piutau (Bristol Bears, 71)
Worcester: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Tom Howe, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Noah Heward, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ted Hill (captain), 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Ethan Waller.
Replacements: 16 Isaac Miller, 17 Callum Black, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Andrew Kitchener, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Gareth Simpson, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Ashley Beck.
Bristol: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Siale Piutau, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Steven Luatua (captain), 5 Chris Vui, 4 Ed Holmes, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 John Afoa, 19 Joe Joyce, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Piers O’Conor.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Sara Cox & Paul Dix
TMO: Geoff Warren
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) September 4, 2020
Northampton Saints 19-22 Exeter Chiefs
For Northampton Saints:
Tries: Ribbans 2, Taylor
Cons: Biggar 2
For Exeter Chiefs:
Tries: Lonsdale, Kirsten, O’Flaherty
Cons: Steenson 2
Northampton: 15 George Furbank, 14 Ahsee Tuala, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Tom Collins, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Henry Taylor, 8 Teimana Harrison (captain), 7 JJ Tonks, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Owen Franks, 2 James Fish, 1 Francois van Wyk.
Replacements: 16 Sam Matavesi, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Shaun Adendorff, 21 Alex Mitchell, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro.
Exeter: 15 Josh Hodge, 14 Tom O’Flaherty, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Tom Hendrickson, 11 Corey Baldwin, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Don Armand, 7 Sean Lonsdale, 6 Jannes Kirsten, 5 Sam Skinner, 4 Dave Dennis, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Jack Yeandle (captain), 1 Alec Hepburn.
Replacements: 16 Jack Innard, 17 Billy Keast, 18 Alfie Petch, 19 Tom Price, 20 Richard Capstick, 21 Joe Snow, 22 Harvey Skinner, 23 Tom Wyatt.
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Greg Macdonald & Andrew Jackson
TMO: Keith Lewis