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REPORT: Bristol Rugby 9-19 Wasps

Three second-half tries saw Bristol edged out 19-9 by Wasps in their final pre-season fixture before the start of the Aviva Premiership season.

Bristol led 9-0 at half-time courtesy of three Gavin Henson penalties, but tries from Nathan Hughes, Josh Bassett and Guy Thompson saw the visitors score 19 unanswered points after the break.

The home side started well and were in front as early as the second minute when Henson knocked over a 30metre penalty following an infringement at the ruck.

The Welshman was at it again just five minutes later, dissecting the posts from a similar position just outside the 22.

Wasps hit back and went close to scoring the first try of the afternoon on 20 minutes, only for the final pass to wing Frank Halai to be called forward by referee Wayne Barnes.

A scrappy twenty minute period followed, but Henson made it three from three one minute before the end of the half as Bristol took a 9-0 lead into the interval.

Both sides rung the changes and early in the second-half, Wasps crossed for the first try of the afternoon as Nathan Hughes collected a loose ball to charge in from 20 metres, with Gopperth’s conversion narrowing the deficit to just two points.

Ten minutes later, that deficit was wiped out when Elliot Daly’s midfield break was rounded off by Josh Bassett – and replacement Danny Cipriani’s conversion made the score 9-14 with 25 minutes left to play.

USA centre Thretton Palamo was introduced and made an immediate impact, brushing off the attention of his opposite number before feeding Jordan Williams, who was hauled down 15 metres short – but when the ball was moved right, a knock-on halted Bristol’s momentum.

The home side continued to threaten, with Mitch Eadie offloading first to Olly Robinson and then to Charlie Amesbury, as the Wasps defence scrambled.

But the visitors had the final say on 79 minutes, as Guy Thompson crashed over at the back of a driving maul to condemn Bristol to a 9-19 defeat.

Bristol Rugby: Jordan Williams, Ryan Edwards, Will Hurrell, Ben Mosses, Tom Varndell, Gavin Henson, Rhodri Williams; Jordan Crane, Jack Lam, Jon Fisher, Ben Glynn, James Phillips, Gaston Cortes, Ross McMillan, Soane Tonga’uiha.

Replacements: Marc Jones, Kyle Traynor, Anthony Perenise, Ian Evans, Joe Joyce, Olly Robinson, Mitch Eadie, Adrian Jarvis, Charlie Amesbury, Thretton Palamo.

Wasps: Rob Miller, Frank Halai, Elliot Daly, Nick De Luca, Josh Bassett, Jimmy Gopperth, Joe Simpson; Matt Mullan, Tommy Taylor, Phil Swainston, Joe Launchbury, James Gaskell, Sam Jones, Guy Thompson, Nathan Hughes. 

Replacements: Ashley Johnson, Will Rowlands, Simon McIntyre, Tom Cruse, Alex Rieder, Dan Robson, Danny Cipriani, Christian Wade, Brendan Macken, Owain James, Matt Symons, Will Stuart.  

REFEREE: Wayne Barnes