Piutau stars and Bristol thump Northampton
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Charles Piutau inspired Bristol Bears to a classy 62-8 win over Northampton Saints at Ashton Gate.
After opposing flyhalves Fin Smith and AJ MacGinty had traded penalties, Harry Randall initiated the try fest with a clever dummy to skip around the breakdown and dive under the posts.
Bears hooker Harry Thacker then went over from close range for his 13th try of the season, before Piutau turned on the style for the hosts’ third of the match.
The fullback wriggled through a series of tackles and produced an inch-perfect grubber straight into the path of a grateful Randall who sprinted to cross in the corner.
And on the stroke of half-time, Piutau was again the provider, offloading down the wing for Ioan Lloyd who sealed the Bears’ try bonus point.
Lloyd grabbed his second after the interval, with Piutau again involved, and by the 51st minute, it was 41-3 to Pat Lam’s men when Chris Vui feigned competing at the breakdown to dart under the posts.
George Hendy pulled back five points for Saints, with his first Premiership try on his second league start.
But George Kloska hit back for Bristol Bears with a close-range try and Ben Harding went over under the posts to bring up a half century of points.
Jake Heenan ran in Bears’ ninth try to add further gloss to the scoreline, and confirm the hosts’ biggest-ever points tally in Premiership history.
For Bristol Bears:
Tries: Randall 2, Thacker, Lloyd 2, Vui, Kloska, Harding, Heenan
Cons: MacGinty 4, Williams 3
For Northampton Saints:
Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Siva Naulago, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 James Williams, 11 Gabriel Ibitoye, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Harry Randall (captain), 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 Fitz Harding, 6 Sam Jeffries, 5 Joe Batley, 4 Chris Vui, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Yann Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 George Kloska, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Sam Bedlow, 23 Ioan Lloyd.
Northampton Saints: 15 George Hendy, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Fraser Dingwall (captain), 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Tom Collins, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Sam Graham, 7 Angus Scott-Young, 6 Alex Coles, 5 Alex Moon, 4 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 3 Alfie Petch, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Ethan Waller.
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Karl Wilkins, 20 Aaron Hinkley, 21 Jake Garside, 22 James Grayson, 23 Tom Litchfield.
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant Referees: Adam Leal, Phil Watters
TMO: David Rose