Bristol Too Strong For Titans
Bristol Rugby 30 - 20 Rotherham Titans
Bristol Rugby moved back into the top four of the RFU Championship with a bonus-point 30-20 victory over Rotherham Titans on Sunday.
George Watkins, Ryan Edwards and Luke Eves touched down for the hosts at the Memorial Stadium, while referee Matthew Carley awarded a penalty try midway through the second half.
Bristol showed attacking intent from the first whistle, and could have gone in front inside the opening five minutes, when Mariano Sambucetti was held up over the line after a typically powerful surge from the lock.
In an error-strewn first period dominated by referee Matthew Carley, Adrian Jarvis squandered an opportunity to kick the home side in front after his penalty attempt faded wide.
Bristol enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and, after a lively break from Fautua Otto, Jarvis atoned for his earlier miss with a well-struck penalty goal.
Liam Middleton’s men stretched their advantage on the half-hour mark when George Watkins collected Alafoti Faosiliva’s deft off-load to scramble over in the corner. Jarvis couldn’t add the extras, so the score remained 8-0.
With Bristol’s pack gaining the ascendancy at the scrum, Jarvis took advantage of another penalty awarded at the set-piece to land a three-pointer on the stroke of half-time.
Rotherham changed their entire front row at the interval and it was the Titans who notched the first points of the second period, courtesy of Garry Law’s penalty goal from the angle.
The visitors were dealt a blow when Dan Sanderson saw yellow for a blatant trip on Ruki Tipuna, and Bristol seized the initiative. After a spell of pressure in the opposition 22, Luke Eves’ fed the on-rushing Ryan Edwards to race in under the posts for a converted try.
Law struck a second penalty goal moments later, before Fautua Otto was stopped his tracks just a metre from the line after a rampaging break through the visiting defence.
Bristol’s dominance at the set-piece continued and, after a powerful scrum was taken down illegally on the five metre line, referee Matthew Carley had no choice but to award the penalty try, which was duly converted by Jarvis to give his side a commanding 25-6 lead.
But Rotherham reduced the deficit once more with a fine team try, finished off under the posts by replacement Joe Ellyatt.
And the Titans fought back to within five points at 25-20 when James McKinney accelerated clear to touch down for a converted score.
Luke Eves made sure of the victory – and the bonus point – when he rumbled over in the corner late on.
Jack Tovey; George Watkins, Fautua Otto, Luke Eves, Ryan Edwards; Adrian Jarvis, James Grindal (c); Kyle Traynor, Ross Johnston, Gaston Cortes, Mariano Sambucetti, Glen Townson, Alafoti Faosiliva, Redford Pennycook, Mitch Eadie.
Replacements: Rhys Lawrence (for Ross Johnston, 76 mins), Bruce Douglas (for Kyle Traynor, 60 mins), Wayne Thompson (for Gaston Cortes, 48 mins), Ben Glynn (for Mariano Sambucetti, 48 mins), Marco Mama (for Alafoti Faosiliva, 60 mins), Ruki Tipuna (for James Grindal, 48 mins), Tristan Roberts (for Fautua Otto, 70 mins).
Garry Law (c); Mike Doneghan, Eamonn Sheridan, Lee Blackett, Pete Homan; James McKinney, Charlie Mulchrone; Marshall Gadd, Harry Hannan, Ross Davies, Ben Thomas, Dan Sanderson, Toby Freeman, Carl Kirwan, Alex Rieder.
Replacements: Ted Stagg (for Harry Hannan, 40 mins), Gareth Denman (for Marshall Gadd, 40 mins), Jamie Kilbane (for Ross Davies, 40 mins), Pale Nonu (for Lee Blackett, 64 mins), Latu Makaafi (for Carl Kirwan, 56 mins), Joe Ellyatt (for Alex Rieder, 64 mins), Jimmy Williams (for Charlie Mulchrone, 67 mins).
Referee: Matthew Carley