Bears get back on track
EUROPEAN CUP MATCH REPORT: Bristol Bears secured all five points to get their Champions Cup campaign back on track with a 27-18 win over Connacht at The Sportsground on Sunday.
Three second-half tries as well as one in the opening 40 minutes was enough for the visitors who always looked in command despite resilience from the hosts.
It took 35 minutes for the opening points of the match, with the visitors the team to take the advantage, setting the driving maul and just keeping the ball in play before Bryan Byrne collapsed over the whitewash with the ball in hand.
A simple penalty kick from Jack Carty with the clock in the red meant that Bristol led by just two points at the break.
Two tries in five second-half minutes with a man extra proved crucial for the visitors as they took over proceedings.
Ed Holmes was the first one to go over before Piers O’Conor picked the gap on the left side, sold a delightful dummy and sprinted clear to score at the sticks.
Connacht soon hit back through Tiernan O’Halloran who was able to force his way over from close range, with the conversion made by Carty.
The visitors soon found an inch of space out wide, with Harry Randall finding Ioan Lloyd who just had enough wriggle room to sprint down the sideline and dive over.
Connacht again responded as a penalty led to a line-out, moved wide to Carty and then to O’Halloran before he found John Porch who crossed the whitewash.
Bristol would slot over a late three-pointer to deny Connacht a losing bonus point and take a full five-point tally from the match.
Tries: O’Halloran, Porch
Pens: Carty 2
For Bristol Bears
Tries: Byrne, Holmes, O’Conor, Lloyd
Cons: Sheedy 2
Yellow cards: Bundee Aki (Connacht, 41), Siale Piutau (Bristol, Bears, 66)
Connacht: 15 John Porch, 14 Alex Wootton, 13 Sam Arnold, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Paul Boyle (captain), 7 Conor Oliver, 6 Sean Masterson, 5 Ultan Dillane, 4 Eoghan Masterson, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 David Heffernan, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Shane Delahunt, 17 Jordan Duggan, 18 Jack Aungier, 19 Cian Prendergast, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Tom Daly, 23 Tiernan O’Halloran.
Bristol Bears: 15 Max Malins, 14 Ratu Naulago, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Siale Piutau, 11 Alapati Leiua, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Ben Earl, 6 Steven Luatua (captain), 5 Ed Holmes, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Jake Woolmore.
Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 John Afoa, 19 Joe Joyce, 20 Daniel Thomas, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Niyi Adeolokun.
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Rob O’Sullivan (Ireland)
TMO: Joy Neville (Ireland)