- The Championship
- Saturday, October 7th 2017
- Ashton Gate
Will Carpenter reports from Ashton Gate
Report: Bristol Rugby 47-26 London Scottish
Saturday, October 7th 2017
Tom Varndell scored Bristol Rugby’s fourth hat trick of the season as Pat Lam’s side shrugged off a spirited London Scottish to claim a fifth successive bonus point win in the Greene King IPA Championship.
The winger opened the scoring on four minutes with a trademark finish down the left, before a quick-fire double midway through the second half completed his haul.
Varndell’s opener was followed up, before the interval, by tries from Alapati Leiua and a penalty try, with Scottish’s Craig Holland and Ross Neal replying for a 21-14 score line at the break.
The prolific winger added two in three minutes early in the second half, before Will Hurrell and Rhodri Williams completed a seven-try victory for the hosts.
Nick Scott and Gregor Gillanders crossed in the closing stages to seal a try bonus point for the visitors, but it had little impact on the score line as Bristol retained top spot in the Greene King IPA Championship.
In front of a crowd of 8,429 at Ashton Gate, the hosts were quickest out of the blocks as Varndell demonstrated pace and power to scamper down the touchline for the afternoon’s opening score.
Madigan added the extras from out wide, but wasn’t required for his side’s next score, as a powerful driving maul was halted illegally by the Scottish pack and referee Steve Lee went under the posts for a penalty try.
Scottish hit back on 18 minutes when Craig Holland collected Jake Sharp’s chip ahead to touch down, with the fly half adding the conversion for 14-7.
But Alapati Leiua soon restored his side’s 14-point lead, shaking off the attention of two Scottish defenders to canter in from 25 metres, after patient build-up play from the home side.
Scottish refused to lie down and added a second five minutes before the interval, as Ross Neal capatalised on a slick set-piece move to go over in the corner, with Sharp again kicking the conversion.
But Bristol dealt the knock-out blow early in second period courtesy of that man Varndell, who completed his hat trick with two tries in four minutes. The man of the match picked off a loose pass in the Scottish 22 to race in unopposed, before collecting Ian Madigan’s deft chip ahead to open up a 33-14 lead.
Leiua and Hurrell then combined to send the latter in for try number six on 57 minutes, bursting through the Scottish midfield to go in under the posts – before Nick Scott scored the visitors’ third following a period of prolonged pressure in the Bristol 22.
Jack Lam’s storming break from the base of the scrum set up replacement Rhodri Williams for his third try of the season – and Bristol’s seventh of the afternoon – five minutes from time.
But there was still time for Scottish to earn a point for their efforts, as Gregor Gillanders cashed in on a charge down to score his side’s fourth – but it wasn’t enough to dampen the mood as Bristol maintained their 100 percent league record.
There was only seven points in it at half time, but Tom Varndell's quick-fire double early in the second half opened up a healthy lead for Bristol Rugby. The winger's predatory instincts saw him pick off an interception, before completing his hat trick on 46 minutes after a neat kick through from Ian Madigan.
Man of the match: Tom Varndell
The Premiership's all-time leading try scorer was at his prolific best in front of a bumper crowd at Ashton Gate, completing yet another hat trick in Bristol Rugby colours.
A trademark scoot and hand-off down the left led to the first score of the afternoon, before two tries in four second half minutes put the game out of Scottish's reach and sealed the winger's treble.
It was the perfect way to cap Varndell's 50th first team appearance for the club.
Photo of the match:
Social media post of the day:
Bristol Rugby: Mat Protheroe; David Lemi, Alapati Leiua, Will Hurrell, Tom Varndell; Ian Madigan, Andy Uren; Ryan Bevington, Jason Harris-Wright, Gaston Cortes, Joe Joyce, Chris Vui, Steven Luatua, Dan Thomas, Jordan Crane (c).
Replacements: Max Crumpton, Jack Cosgrove, Alex Giltrow, Jack Lam, Rhodri Williams, Billy Searle, Jordan Williams.
London Scottish: Craig Holland, Matt Williams, Ross Neal, Fraser Lyle, Nick Scott, Jake Sharp, Ed Hoadley; James Tyas, Matt Marley, Matt Eliet, Tjiuee Uanivi, Jonathan Mills (c), Phil Cringle, Isaac Miller, Jonny Harris.
Replacements: Pete Austin, Ben Onyeama Christie, Dino Waldren, Gregor Gillanders, Joe Atkinson, Josh Barton, Alec Coombes.
- Varndell (3), Hurrell, Leiua, Williams
- Madigan (5)
- Yellow Cards:
- Scott, Neal, Holland, Gillanders
- Sharp (3)
- Yellow Cards: