Bristol Bears, in front of a club record attendance, have marked their return to Premiership rugby with a gutsy 17-10 victory over their West Country Rivals.
The newly promoted Championship outfit had to navigate their way through a period with 14-men and kept their cool when they found themselves 9-10 down at the start of the final quarter.
Bristol vs. Bath player ratings:
Fullback: Luke Daniels – Lasted just 32 minutes. Took a crunching hit from Jamie Roberts early on but regained his composure and was looking good before he was forced off. 5/10
Winger: Luke Morahan – It took the speedster 25 minutes to get a touch of the ball but when he did it almost ended with a try if not for a try-saving tackle from Joe Cokanasiga. He then continued to carry really well, making over 100 metres, before setting up Leiua’s crucial late score. 8.5/10
Outside-centre: Will Hurrell – 0 for his very, very short shorts. The performance was pretty decent though with him showing nice hands while his defence was first class. 7/10
Inside-centre: Tusi Pisi – The experienced centre was a calm distributor in the first half but was yellow carded for a brainless deliberate knock-on in the second. It almost proved costly for Bristol. 6.5/10
Winger: Alapati Leiua – Didn’t get a lot of the ball until he dotted down the match-winning try after 72 minutes. He also did well to stifle his opposite number and Bath’s chief dangerman Semesa Rokoduguni. – 7/10
Bristol Bears are bouncing! 🐻
Their first try back in the top-flight, and LOOK at those hands from Alapati Leiua 🙌 pic.twitter.com/YIcWTT37Yo
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) August 31, 2018
Fly-half: Ian Madigan – The positives outweighed the negatives for Madigan. He was almost perfect off the tee and showed good hands when Bristol was on the front foot but his general kicking was average at best. 7/10
— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) August 31, 2018
Scrum-half: Nic Stirzaker – The new addition distributed well and helped the newly promoted hosts establish a good tempo to their game. He will be crucial to the Bears having a good season. 7.5/10