Championship Rugby

Bristol vs Nottingham

25/11/2017 Ashton Gate 12.30 KO

Result: 50 - 21 (Bristol Win)


Bristol Rugby

  1. Jack Cosgrove
  2. Jason Harris-Wright (Gompels 55')
  3. Gaston Cortes (Thomas 16')
  4. Joe Joyce
  5. Sam Jeffries
  6. Steven Luatua [Capt] (Batley 49')
  7. Dan Thomas
  8. Jordan Crane
  9. Rhodri Williams
  10. Ian Madigan (Uren 61')
  11. Tom Varndell
  12. Tusi Pisi (Sheedy 49')
  13. Will Hurrell
  14. Luke Morahan (Wallace 55')
  15. Jordan Williams

 16. Ben Gompels
 17. Soane Tonga'uiha
 18. Nicky Thomas
 19. Joe Batley
 20. Andy Uren
 21. Callum Sheedy
 22. Jack Tovey

Ref. Simon Harding

Attendance: 6781


Nottingham Rugby

(Sio 49') James Penman .1
Jimmy Stevens .2
(Stuart 50') Rory Burke .3
Tom Holmes .4
Danny Qualter .5
Shane Buckley .6
(Brownlie 61') [Capt] Matt Everard .7
Josh Poullet .8
(Veenedaal 61') Murray McConnell .9
Tiff Eden .10
David Williams .11
(Hakalo 5') Gearold Lyon .12
(Coghlan 21') Oli Evan .13
Billy Robinson .14
Sean Scanlon .15

Ben Brownlie .16
Aniseko Sio .17
Will Stuart .18
Ben Morris .19
Jordan Coghlan .20
Darryl Veenendaal .21
Vill Hakalo .22

First Half

After a dramatic 28-27 win over Ealing in round 9 of the Green King IPA Championship, Nottingham were a side that could have proved a stumbling block for Bristol as they chased their 10th consecutive league win of their unbeaten season. Pat Lam’s side involved four changes from their convincing away win over Carnegie, including a first start for Jack Cosgrove. The side also featured two Bristol University alumni in the form of starting lock Sam Jeffries and front row replacement Ben Gomples.

The game began with a Bristol kick-off well collected by Nottingham winger David Williams, and for the first few minutes, their side attacked with pace and conviction. Despite this early attacking threat, an early break from a turnover led the home side to deep within the opposition 22, and with just 4 minutes on the clock Dan Thomas was able to bundle over for the first try of the match, with Ireland international Ian Madigan adding the extras.

The second try followed swiftly afterwards, with a penalty kicked to touch allowing Bristol to set up a maul from a line-out close to the visitors try line. Despite a strong interruption attempt from the Nottingham forwards, some clinical handling gave fullback Jordan Williams enough space to dart around Oli Evans and in for his first score of the afternoon. The following conversion attempt was a rare miss from the Bristol fly half, who’s kicking percentage had been perfect in the previous week.

Now fully settled into the game, Bristol were playing the fast tempo, exciting rugby that they’ve been playing all season with some excellent attacking play from Will Hurrell and Jordan Williams breaking down the Nottingham defense. The next try came from a similar build-up to the first. A penalty kicked to touch, followed by a driving maul allowed Dan Thomas to cross the line for his second try of the match, again converted and taking the score to 19-0.

Having not been able to break into the Bristol 22 as of yet in the game due to some poor discipline and handling errors, Nottingham managed to begin controlling their offensive phases and found themselves in close proximity of their opening score. After 2 failed attempts to score and one try held up, under advantage, the Bristol defense held strong with Tusi Pisi and full-debutant Jack Cosgrove leading the effort. However with some poor discipline creeping in, Nicky Thomas found himself sent to the sin bin for deliberately collapsing a maul off a line-out. Nottingham’s fourth attempt to turn pressure into points were prevented by some excellent rucking work from the tight forwards resulting in a penalty to the home side, who were then able to clear their lines. With the yellow card and an earlier injury to Gaston Cortes, scrums were forced to uncontested due to the lack of a tight head prop on Bristol’s part.

After an early burst of tries, the Bristol fans had to wait until the 40th minute of the match for their team to earn their 9th bonus point of the season. Again, an attacking line-out deep in the Nottingham half being the platform, with Harris-Wright driving over from short range. With the conversion drifting wide, the half time score was 31-0 to the league leaders.

Half Time: Bristol 31 - Nottingham 0

Dan Thomas crosses the line for his first try of two. Image property of Bristol Rugby Club and courtesy of  JMPUK.

Dan Thomas crosses the line for his first try of two. Image property of Bristol Rugby Club and courtesy of JMPUK.

Second Half

The second half started strongly, with some incisive running lines from Bristol’s outside backs leaving an easy 2 on 1 for Jordan Williams to set Rhordi Williams up for an easy finish under the post.

For the next 20 minutes, Bristol did very little attacking within the Nottingham half, with most of the play occurring in the middle of the park. Desperate to get on the scoreboard, Nottingham again spent a sustained period attacking from close range, and again whilst defensively strong, discipline from the home side was lacking. After conceding several close range penalties, Bristol again were awarded a penalty and managed to clear their lines. Shortly afterwards however, the visitors were rewarded for their patience. After a dangerous tackle into touch by Rhodri Williams leading to a yellow card given to the wrong Bristol player (Jordan Williams),  Ben Brownlie of Nottingham was able to put the ball down at the back of a driving maul with Tiff Allen adding to his large tally of points this season with the conversion.

Nottingham now on the front foot, came close to adding to this within 3 minutes with a cross-field kick nearly gathered by winger Billy Robinson. Yet soon after, with Bristol playing with far less intensity than earlier, a broken field after a midfield ruck allowed opposition lock Tom Holmes to pick and go and run in from nearly 50 yards.

Bristol began to pick their heads up after this. Despite a few handling errors, with some tempo back in their game it was a short wait for the home fans before Bristol were back on the score sheet. Some good link up play from the replacement halfbacks allowed Rhodri Williams, now playing on the wing, to dart in round the corner for his second try of the afternoon.  Another score followed shortly, after some back and forth midfield play and a held up try from a Bristol pick and go, with replacement back rower Joe Batley finding a gap in the Nottingham defense and running in from just inside the 22. The final conversion from Callum Sheady saw Bristol to their final tally of 50 points for the match.

In the dying minutes of the game, Nottingham capitalised on some sloppy defence and Matt Everard put his side one try short of a bonus point. With this in mind the match concluded after a spell of back and forth play before Andy Uren knocking the ball out of play to end the game 50-21 to the white and blue hoops.

Full Time: Bristol 50 - Nottingham 21

Burst Man of the Match: Jordan Williams