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Author Archive for Paul Rees at Ashton Gate

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Emotional Rob Baxter laments wife’s absence from Exeter’s great day

• ‘The cruellest thing was our families were not here’• Last 10 minutes of Champions Cup triumph ‘horrible to watch’Sam Simmonds, named European player of the year after Exeter defeated Racing 92 to win the Champions Cup, has his sights on a double as …

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Exeter are European champions after dramatic final against Racing 92

Final: Exeter 31-27 Racing 92Chiefs stand firm after Racing fightbackExeter’s success has been based as much on their ability to defend their line as the capacity to score from 10 metres out. The key to a victory that keeps the Champions Cup in England…

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Bristol thrash Leicester but need help to reach Premiership play-offs

Bristol 40-3 LeicesterHome side score six tries in dominant winBristol went into the evening as the only one of the four teams tilting for the three remaining play-off places not in charge of their own destiny and despite a record Premiership victory o…

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Bristol keep it simple to move second after overpowering Northampton

Bristol 47-10 NorthamptonThe Bears move up to second above rivals SaleBristol moved to second in the table after eventually overwhelming under-strength, out-of-form opponents in the final 18 minutes to record their biggest home win in the Premiership. …

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Bristol keep up pressure on Exeter after late penalty try sees off Saracens

Bristol 16-12 SaracensSiale Piutau penalty try is decisive for BristolThis was not the most compelling argument for summer rugby, but Bristol have used the lockdown to inject themselves with pragmatism. Anyone looking for Covid-19 metamorphoses after f…

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Stephen Myler grabs last-gasp draw for 14-man London Irish at Bristol

• Bristol 27-27 London Irish• Irish’s Ollie Hoskins sent off just before half-timeBristol wasted the chance to return to the top of the table when they failed to take advantage of London Irish playing the entire second half a man short after Ollie Hosk…

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Tom Pincus snatches late try to lift Bristol and floor Newcastle

• Bristol 35-28 Newcastle• Bristol’s second-half comeback leaves Newcastle rock bottomNewcastle go into the new year at the bottom of the table after finishing an oscillating game in the seasonally generous mood that they started it. If Bristol’s openi…

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Kyle Eastmond sees red as hapless Leicester crash to defeat at Bristol

• Bristol 41-10 Leicester• Tigers are humbled at Ashton GateLeicester were champions five years ago but a slow, gradual descent is gathering speed. They dropped into the bottom half of the table after a feeble, disjointed display against promoted Brist…

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Bristol go down fighting in spirited battle against Wasps

• Bristol 21-36 Wasps
• Bristol lacked the overall class of their opponents and face relegation

Bristol are down but they were far from out against the Premiership leaders. They matched Wasps in spirit, pressing at the end when the cause had long been lost and scoring two tries, but they lacked the overall class and polish of their opponents which too often meant that opportunity knocked on.

A 10-minute period of play in the first half summed up Bristol’s season. They were trailing 14-7 having taken an early lead through Jason Woodward’s opportunism after Wasps had fumbled the ball hear halfway and conceded two tries in four minutes and knew they had to score next to prevent the flickering flame that represented their Premiership survival from being snuffed out.

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Jonny May seals victory as Gloucester take maximum points against Bristol

• Bristol 14-32 Gloucester
• Cherry and Whites put in strong defensive performance at Ashton Gate

Bristol are on course for an immediate return to the Championship after losing to their county rivals on a night that summed up why their return to the top-flight after a seven-year absence has been underwhelming. There was no shortage of endeavour or variety from the home side, but in attack they were no sharper than a butter knife and in defence they again showed a capacity to turn routine moments into tries for their opponents.

Gloucester had not kept their tryline intact in the Premiership all season, but they held out comfortably for 78 minutes here to leave Bristol without a bonus point and stranded at the foot of the table.

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Gavin Henson injury adds to Bristol woes in crushing defeat to Sale

• Bristol 13-31 Sale
• Wales international Henson injures shoulder on return to Bristol side

Mike Haley showed those who were surprised at his inclusion in the England squad why he is seen as a full‑back of international potential, twice streaking away to help Sale secure a try bonus point and climb into the top half of the Premiership table on a day that may turn out to be Gavin Henson’s last as a professional player.

Henson, making his first appearance since sustaining a dead leg 29 minutes into Bristol’s opening match of the season against Harlequins, left the field clutching his right shoulder 11 minutes in. He fell awkwardly after running into Sam Bedlow, who had just come on to the field after replacing Will Addison, a head injury victim, like Magnus Lund moments before.

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Alex Lozowski celebrates England call-up as Saracens brush Bristol aside

• Bristol 0-39 Saracens
• Lozowski scores two tries hours after being selected in England squad

Bristol had averaged two tries a match this season while conceding a total of 21, and if in the final match in their run against last season’s top three they took until the final 10 minutes of the game, rather than the first-half, to give up a bonus point, Saracens showed in a largely uninspiring affair why they are the double European and Premiership champions.

Despite the largely one-sided nature of the contest which Saracens controlled from the off, they never went off script and indulged themselves, sticking instead to the formula that has made them so successful in recent seasons. Where Wasps and Exeter gave them a few bones to gnaw at, all Bristol had from Sarries was a plate wiped clean.

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Northampton give Bristol brutal Premiership welcome with big win

• Bristol 10-32 Northampton
• Saints relied on set-piece supremacy and Stephen Myler’s kicking

Andy Robinson is not usually given to overlooking refereeing decisions that go against his side. However so overwhelmed were Bristol in the opening half against opponents who used their experience to keep the game tight and their hosts pinned deep in their own half, that he responded to Northampton’s third try, scored by Ken Pisi after the wing appeared to plant both feet in touch having flattened Tom Varndell, with a phlegmatic shrug.

He had been more forthright the weekend before when Harlequins were awarded a try despite a scoring pass that was even more forward than Mae West, but where the game at Twickenham had been open and oscillatory, Northampton shut out Bristol from the start. The Saints used the boot of Stephen Myler to secure position, never tempted by overlaps for fear of inviting their hosts into the game, and used their supremacy in the set-pieces to kick resulting penalties into touch, drive mauls and keep out gatecrashers.

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