Premiership: Gloucester 24-33 Bristol Bears

premiership gloucester 24 33 bristol bears - Premiership: Gloucester 24-33 Bristol Bears
Fiji international Semi Radradra joined Bristol Bears from French Top 14 side Bordeaux this summer
Gloucester (14) 24
Tries: Balmain, Harris, Varney Cons: Twelvetrees 2, Cipriani Pen: Twelvetrees
Bristol (26) 33
Tries: Malins, Purdy, Thacker, Radradra, Earl Cons: Sheedy 4

Semi Radradra inspired Bristol Bears to a bonus-point Premiership win in the West Country derby at Gloucester.

The Fiji international set up early tries for Max Malins and Henry Purdy before Harry Thacker powered over.

Radradra scored the fourth as Bristol did the damage in the first half, with Fraser Balmain and Chris Harris replying for the Cherry & Whites.

Ben Earl stretched the visitors’ lead and Gloucester could not come back despite Stephen Varney’s score.

Victory keeps the second-placed Bears eight points behind league leaders Exeter, and Bristol will have a chance to close that gap when they host the Chiefs on Tuesday (19:45 BST).

Both sides have won back-to-back matches since the season restarted earlier this month following the coronavirus lockdown, but the quick turnaround will present a challenge to the respective squads.

Early Bears blitz sets platform

Radradra had a subdued debut against Saracens last weekend, but the centre showed his class as Bristol tore through the Gloucester defence to secure a bonus point within the first half hour.

The 28-year-old had a hand in the fifth-minute opener for full-back Malins, and his swift break and stunning offload created the second for Purdy four minutes later.

Thacker touched down from a rolling maul to make it 19-0 inside 20 minutes, before Balmain crashed over to bring the hosts back into the match.

Radradra’s first Premiership try came when he burst through the Gloucester defence from 10 metres out and barrelled over after evading Lewis Ludlow’s tackle.

The second half proved to be a closer and scrappier affair, but Bristol displayed good game management to close out the contest after Harris set up Varney to drag Gloucester nine points behind with 10 minutes left.

Following the summer additions of Radradra, England prop Kyle Sinckler and on-loan pair Earl and Malins – who both registered their first tries for the club – Bears director of rugby Pat Lam will surely be targeting a first-ever appearance in a Premiership final.

Gloucester head coach George Skivington told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

“It was always going to be a massive challenge for us as Bristol are a great side.

“We started slowly and it was hard work to get ourselves back in the game. They managed the game well and kept it away from us.

“We will go away and look at how we can be better, and work out how we move forward.

“Sometimes it is hard in the heat of the battle to see the positives. We were not clinical enough in our execution in the second half but the fighting spirit was massive.”

Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam told BBC Radio Bristol:

“I am pleased we got the five points and I appreciate the effort from the guys but we certainly took the foot off the pedal.

“With 30 minutes to go there was so much messy rugby and we couldn’t control the ball as well.

“There were some good performances out there, including from Semi, but the feeling in the changing room is a little bit flat as we let them off the hook a bit.

“We are a team that want to grow and we have to acknowledge the things we haven’t done well.”

Gloucester: Rees-Zammit; Thorley, Harris, Twelvetrees, May; Cipriani, Simpson; Rapava-Ruskin, Singleton, Balmain, Slater, Garvey, Ackermann, Ludlow, Polledri.

Replacements: Marais, Mulipola, Stanley, Drake, Clement, Varney, Seabrook, Sharples.

Bristol Bears: Malins; Leiua, Radradra, Piutau, Purdy; Sheedy, Uren; Woolmore, Thacker, Sinckler, Joyce, Vui, Luatua (capt), Earl, Hughes.

Replacements: Capon, Thomas, Lahiff, Holmes, Thomas, Randall, Eden, Morahan.

Referee: Luke Pearce.

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