Bears make big championship statement
PREMIERSHIP FRIDAY WRAP: Leaders Bristol showcased their title credentials with a 48-3 demolition of local rivals Bath at Ashton Gate.
Bryan Byrne scored tries and Semi Radradra, Charles Piutau, Luke Morahan and Andy Uren also crossed for rampant Bristol.
Flyhalf Ioan Lloyd kicked four conversions and a penalty as Bristol made it five successive victories in all competitions.
Bath’s preparations were hit after they closed their training ground last week when they were told that the squad had 19 positive COVID-19 tests.
However, the Premiership’s testing company realised a mistake had been made, and the actual figure in Bath’s camp was one.
Clearly unsettled by the lack of training time, Bath managed only a first half penalty from Rhys Priestland.
* In the other Friday match Alex Sanderson led Sale to a 25-15 win at Leicester in his first game in charge of the Sharks.
The 41-year-old ended his 17-year association with Saracens as both a player and coach to replace Steve Diamond as Director of Rugby during the two-week break in Premiership action.
He wasted little time in delivering some early success in his role as his new side produced a performance brimming with quality to move up to second in the table.
Sam James, Cobus Wiese and Marland Yarde all scored tries for Sale.
It was a chastening evening for Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick after his side established an eight-point lead through Tom Youngs’ try, on his 200th club appearance, and Zack Henry’s early penalty.
To see the latest standings, CLICK HERE!
Scores and scorers
Bristol 48 Bath 3
Tries: Morahan, Piutau, Uren, Byrne 2, Radradra, Penalty try
Cons: Lloyd 4, penalty try does not require a conversion
Yellow cards: Rhys Priestland (Bath, 31), Josh Bayliss (Bath, 53)
Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Piers O’Conor, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Ioan Lloyd, 9 Andy Uren, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Steven Luatua (captain), 5 Chris Vui, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 John Afoa, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Jake Woolmore
Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Jake Armstrong, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 Callum Sheedy, 23 Alapati Leiua
Bath: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Ruaridh McConnochie, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Gabriel Hamer-Webb, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Miles Reid, 6 Josh Bayliss, 5 Elliott Stooke, 4 Josh McNally (captain), 3 Christian Judge, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Juan Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Mike Williams, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Cameron Redpath, 23 Joe Cokanasiga
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe and Luke Pearce
TMO: Tom Foley
Leicester 15 Sale Sharks 25
Tries: Reffell, Nadolo
Tries: S James, Wiese, Yarde
Cons: MacGinty 2
Pens: MacGinty 2
Yellow cards: Harry Wells (Leicester Tigers, 42), Nephi Leatigaga (Leicester Tigers, 57)
Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Zack Henry, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 5 Calum Green, 4 Harry Wells, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (captain), 1 Luan de Bruin
Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Tomás Lavanini, 20 George Martin, 21 Cyle Brink, 22 Jack Van Poortvliet, 23 Johnny McPhillips
Sale Sharks: 15 Luke James, 14 Byron McGuigan, 13 Sam James, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Josh Beaumont, 7 Sam Dugdale, 6 Jono Ross (captain), 5 Jean-Pierre du Preez, 4 Cobus Wiese, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Bevan Rodd
Replacements: 16 Curtis Langdon, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 James Phillips, 20 Cameron Neild, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Robert du Preez, 23 Tom Roebuck
Referee: Ian Tempest
Assistant referees: Paul Dix and Jamie Leahy
TMO: Christophe Ridley
* To recap our weekend predictions and see all the teams, CLICK HERE!
Playing Saturday, January 30
Gloucester v Northampton
Worcester v Exeter
Playing Sunday, January 31
London Irish v Newcastle
Wasps v Newcastle
* Additional reporting by AFP