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REPORT: Exeter Braves 36-17 Bristol United

Bristol United slumped to a 36-17 defeat at the hands of Exeter Braves in the Aviva A League on Monday night. 

The visitors were outscored by five tries to three at Sandy Park, with Luke Arscott, Charlie Amesbury and BJ Edwards on the scoresheet. Michele Campagnaro, Damian Welch, Tom Johnson, Sam Simmonds and Shaun Malton all crossed for Exeter while Joe Simmonds kicked eight points.  

What happened?

On his debut for the club, Dan Tuohy made his mark in the opening exchanges, bulldozing through the Exeter defence with his very first touch of the evening.

Just three minutes in, a lineout on halfway gave United a solid platform and from the maul that followed, Luke Arscott sliced through a gaping hole in the hosts’ defence before linking up with Fenton-Wells. The flanker took play deep into Exeter territory, but his offload to Marc Jones spilt loose.

Exeter were first on the scoreboard with the evening’s opening try, as Michele Campagnaro charged down the blindside and bulldozed over from close range.

Simmonds added the conversion from wide out and United were soon facing a seven point and one man deficit, when Marc Jones was sin-binned for an infringement at the breakdown.

BACK IN ACTION: Callum Sheedy takes on the Exeter Braves defence at Sandy Park (Photo: JMP UK). 

Seven points soon became twelve when Damian Welch went over at the back of a driving maul, but fly half Simmonds was off target on this occasion.

The returning Callum Sheedy then missed a chance to get his side on the scoreboard when his penalty from all of 40 metres drifted wide – and Exeter soon had a third try courtesy of Tom Johnson’s opportunist pick and go. Simmonds’ conversion made it 19-0 on the half-hour mark.

But Bristol responded and with Jones returning from the sin-bin, Luke Arscott dotted down at the back of a maul after a strong drive from the pack, with Sheedy slotting the conversion.

Simmonds was then wide with a penalty on the stroke of half time, but it didn’t prevent Exeter taking a comfortable lead into the break.

That lead was extended just eight minutes into the second half when Callum Sheedy’s kick was charged down and Braves’ flanker Sam Simmonds showed neat footballing skills to kick through and dot down in the corner. His brother, Joe stepped up to add the extras with another fine touchline conversion.

DEBUTANT: Dan Tuohy takes control at the lineout on his debut for Bristol (Photo: JMP UK). 

The fly half repeated the feat on 62 minutes when Shaun Malton scored the hosts’ fifth try, after Dan Tuohy had become the second Bristol player to be sent to the sin-bin.

United pulled a try back on 69 minutes through Charlie Amesbury who rounded off a neat handling move in the left-hand corner, but Sheedy was unable to add the extras.

BJ Edwards bundled his way over for United's third try one minute from time, but it was a mere consolation on a disappointing night for the visitors. 

Joe Simmonds' penalty made it 36-17 with the final action of the evening, as United left Sandy Park empty-handed.

Key moment:

A slow start to the match ultimately cost Bristol United, who found themselves 19-0 down after 30 minutes. It was a long way back from there.

Photo of the match:

IN FLIGHT: Callum Sheedy kicks at goal during Monday night's defeat to Exeter Braves (Photo: JMP UK). 

Man of the match: BJ Edwards

The second-row worked hard on a tough night for Bristol United, bagging himself a try in the closing stages.

Social media post of the day:

The teams:

Bristol Rugby: Jordan Williams (Newey 76); Charlie Amesbury, Jack Tovey, Luke Arscott, David Lemi (c) (Caven 48); Callum Sheedy, Andy Uren (Roberts 40); Jack O’Connell (Dawe 72), Marc Jones, James Hall (Clarey 54), BJ Edwards, Dan Tuohy (Hawkins 68), Joe Joyce, Nick Fenton-Wells (Brooker 40 (Capon 55)), Nick Koster.

Replacements: Chris Brooker, Ollie Dawe, Alec Clarey, John Hawkins, Jack Capon, Martin Roberts, Elias Caven, James Newey.

Exeter Braves: Ted Landray (Elderkin 67), AJ Cant, Michele Campagnaro, Tom Hendrickson (Mason 68), Harry Strong, Joe Simmonds, Dave Lewis (Thomas 63); Moray Low (Keast 72), Shaun Malton (Innard 63), Jack Owlett (Street 76), Damian Welch, Sam Skinner, Ben White (lawday 67), Sam Simmonds, Tom Johnson (capt).

Replacements: Jack Innard, Billy Keast, Marcus Street, Ed Holmes, Tom Lawday, Haydn Thomas, Joe Elderkin, Nick Mason.