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Bristol 39 – 7 Gloucester


Bristol and Gloucester serve rugby party in front of fans with red card, three tries denied and 26 unanswered points

Last updated: 05/17/21 22:26 pm

Semi Radradra is tackled by Willi Heinz of Gloucester Rugby

Gallagher Premiership frontman Bristol overcame an episode of stage fright before beating West Gloucester rival 39-7 as fans returned to Ashton Gate.

An easing of coronavirus restrictions allowed Bristol’s first home crowd since March of last year – 3,128 – and Pat Lam’s team finally made headlines on the show.

Their bonus points victory put them 12 points ahead atop the Premiership and a home play-off next month is just around the corner.

But they often worked hard after Gloucester lock Matias Alemanno was sent off for a 16th-minute tackle, seeing three first-half tries banned with full-back Charles Piutau wasting another golden opportunity, then the substitute Alapati Leiua and Piutau having scores excluded.

Bristol 39 – 7 Gloucester

Bristol Bears’ Steven Luatua is tackled by Gloucester’s Matias Alemanno resulting in a red card

This meant Bristol’s off-court game was often stuck, but they eventually prevailed thanks to touchdowns from Piutau, winger Max Malins, flanker Ben Earl, number eight Nathan Hughes and center Semi Radradra, while half-fly Callum Sheedy threw two penalties and four conversions.

Gloucester, despite struggling for over an hour, was admirable in the face of adversity and they arguably deserved more than winger Santiago Carreras’ try that Billy Twelvetrees converted.

Sheedy started Bristol in the seventh minute, with the crowd seemingly cheering with every Bristol pass and kick, and he doubled his team’s advantage with a second penalty soon after.

But the cheers quickly turned to boos – in the direction of the officials – after propeller Kyle Sinckler had a try denied following a brilliant move triggered by scrum-half Andy Uren and Radradra.

Bristol 39 – 7 Gloucester

Bristol Bears fan shows support in the stands ahead of Gallagher Premiership game at Ashton Gate

Sheedy was lining up the conversion when referee Craig Maxwell-Keys was fired on TV reruns and he ruled the England striker was unclear.

There was no slowdown in the action, however, with Alemanno then fired for his reckless challenge on Luatua, before Bristol had another try-out, this time after Kerr crossed the Gloucester line.

Radradra also moved closer and Gloucester was soon into new struggles, being temporarily reduced to 13 men when propeller Val Rapava-Ruskin received a yellow card for a melee offense.

Bristol 39 – 7 Gloucester

Nathan Hughes on the charge for Bristol

Bristol camped in Gloucester’s half and they finally crossed 13 minutes before half-time.

Another fluid move set Gloucester back and, when possession was quickly recycled, Sheedy freed Malins with a stunning reverse knockdown and the fly-half converted for a 13-point lead.

Sheedy’s glee turned to frustration soon after when he had a try denied following a shock earlier in the move and Gloucester – despite being shorthanded – was still sort of in the contest.

And Bristol then blew another golden opportunity as Piutau sprinted flawlessly, but Gloucester full-back Kyle Moyle knocked the ball out of his hands, the try was complicated and the visitors trailed just 13-7 to half-time.

Bristol boss Lam made four substitutions, including sending to a new front row just seven minutes after the restart and another score was denied, this time for Leiua after a forward pass earlier in the movement.

All of the officials’ no-try decisions were correct, but Bristol eventually succeeded after a raging race through the Chris Vui Lock that led to the Piutau Passage, then Earl stormed over 13 minutes of time as the home team was getting closer to a bonus point.

And it duly arrived thanks to another close-range score, this time from Hughes as Bristol finally pulled out, Radradra’s late effort leaving him unanswered 26 points in the second half.

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