Two-try blitz sees Bears past Saints
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Two tries in two minutes ensured Bristol Bears fought back to secure a 20-14 victory against Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens.
The hosts were on the front foot straight away and got on the scoreboard when Harry Mallinder ran in a simple try on his first start in Gallagher Premiership Rugby in 15 months.
Saints extended their advantage twice through the boot of James Grayson to give themselves an 11-0 lead at the break.
Grayson kicked another penalty after the restart, but Northampton soon found themselves down to 14-men when Rory Hutchinson was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle.
Bristol capitalised when Callum Sheedy got their first points of the game before Henry Purdy crossed over the whitewash.
Minutes later Lewis Thiede added a second to give Bristol the lead while Ian Madigan landed a penalty with the last kick of the game to see out the result.
“I was frustrated with the first half,” Bristol Director of Rugby Pat Lam said.
“We said our purple patch would come, but the first thing is we’ve got to keep the ball.
“Then when we scored the message went out to score again and then we scored again.
“We were playing and then we kicked the ball away and they had their purple patch of attack again.
“I am proud of them because at the end of the day we’ve gone away to Exeter Chiefs and won away there, and gone to the second-placed team Saints and done the same.
“But those are outcomes. The team that we want to be, we can’t play rugby like that if we want to set the standards higher.”
Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd said: “We surrendered a 14-point lead which hurts.
“You don’t want to surrender that anytime particularly not at home, so it was a bitter pill to swallow.
“We felt we controlled the game for long periods of time, but at the end of the day they went back-to-back with tries in quick succession and held on at the end.
“It’s a good result for them away from home. I think it was a tight contest, both sides defended reasonably well and we leaked a couple of first phase defensive errors and they capitalised on that and scored 14 points.”
For Northampton Saints:
Pens: Grayson 3
For Bristol Bears:
Tries: Purdy, Thiede
Cons: Sheedy 2
Pens: Sheedy, Madigan
Yellow card: Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints, 49)
Northampton Saints: 15 Harry Mallinder, 14 Tom Collins, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 James Grayson, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Mitch Eadie, 5 Alex Moon, 4 Alex Coles, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 James Fish, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Ehren Painter, 19 Lewis Bean, 20 Devante Onojaife, 21 Alex Mitchell, 22 Fraser Dingwall, 23 Ahsee Tuala
Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Sam Bedlow, 11 Alapati Leiua, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Harry Randall, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Steven Luatua (captain), 5 Chris Vui, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 John Afoa, 2 Shaun Malton, 1 Jake Woolmore
Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Lewis Thiede, 19 Joe Joyce, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Henry Purdy
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Karl Dickson & Wayne Barnes.
TMO: Graham Hughes
Report by @premrugby