Bristol Bears continue their march towards the Gallagher Premiership play-offs with a convincing 47-10 bonus-point triumph against Northampton Saints at Ashton Gate.
The seven tries saw the Bears secure their biggest ever home win in the Gallagher Premiership.
James Grayson had given the Saints an early three-point lead, but tries from Alapati Leiua, Harry Thacker and Andy Uren, all converted by Callum Sheedy, gave the hosts a 21-3 lead at the break.
Debutant Josh Gillespie got Northampton back into the match, but the visitors soon found themselves down to 14 men with 25 minutes to play. due to injuries
Bristol then secured the bonus-point through Chris Vui before further tries from Ben Earl, Pier O’Conor and Luke Morahan put the icing on the cake for Pat Lam’s side.
Scroll down to check out our Bristol Bears vs Northampton player ratings.
RUCK’S MAN OF THE MATCH – Ben Earl
Outstanding all-around performance from the England back-rower, making 9 carries, 67 metres and 13 tackles. Bristol will be hoping to make his loan move from Saracens permanent.
Nathan Hughes (Bristol Bears): The number eight was the top individual tackler in the game with 14 when he was replaced after 51 minutes. They’ll want to wrap the England international powerhouseup in cotton wool for the big games still to come.
Callum Sheedy (Bristol Bears): The fly-half was in fantastic form this evening, kicking superbly out of hand and from the tee as well as making 45 metres from his four carries. He finished with a personal haul of 12 points.
Harry Thacker (Bristol Bears): The diminutive hooker rumbled over from close-range for the opening try of the game. His overall performance was also excellent, apart from one brain fart when he should have played in Radradra. Are you watching Eddie Jones?
Josh Gillespie (Northampton Saints): The 19-year-old speedster made his Premiership debut as a second-half replacement and didn’t take long to make his mark. A very exciting talent and the one bright spark in a horrible Saints display.
Piers Francis (Northampton Saints): The England centre was off the pace, offering very little in attack or defence. 0 metres made from his four carries, conceding two turnovers and missing two tackles made this a night to forget.
Bristol Bears vs Northampton player ratings
Bristol Bears: Charles Piutau 7, Luke Morahan 6, Piers O’Conor 6, Semi Radradra 8, Alapati Leiua 7.5, Callum Sheedy 8, Andy Uren 7.5, Nathan Hughes 8, Ben Earl 8.5 Chris Vui 7, Joe Joyce 7, Dave Attwood 7, Kyle Sinckler, 7.5 Harry Thacker 8, Jake Woolmore 7
Replacements: Will Capon, Yann Thomas 5, Peter McCabe 5, Steven Luatua 6, Dan Thomas 6, Chris Cook 6, Max Malins 5, Ioan Lloyd 6
Northampton Saints: Tommy Freeman 6, Ryan Olowofela 5, Fraser Dingwall 6, Piers Francis 4, Taqele Naiyaravoro 4, James Grayson 6, Tom James 6, Shaun Adendorff 6, Lewis Ludlam 6, Jamie Gibson 6, Nick Isiekwe 6, Alex Moon 6, Ehren Painter 6, Mikey Haywood 6, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi 5
Replacements: Reece Marshall 5, Nick Auterac 5, Karl Garside 5, Lewis Bean. 5, Tui Uru 5, Henry Taylor 5, Reuben Bird-Tulloch 5, Josh Gillespie 7
JOIN THE RUCK:
England’s best uncapped XV Eddie Jones should be watching
Fullback: Josh Hodge (Exeter Chiefs) – The 20-year-old started for Exeter for the first time since his move from Newcastle in June against Bristol last week. It’s fair to say he made quite the impression.
Winger: Ollie Thorley (Gloucester) – He made his debut for the Cherry & Whites in 2013 as a 17-year-old, partnering World Cup winner Mike Tindall in the centre of an LV= Cup match, and has since gone on to prove himself as one of the brightest talents at Kingsholm. A World Rugby U20 Championship winner in 2016, Thorley has pace, power and an eye for the try line.
Centre: Cameron Redpath (Bath RFC) – The son of 60-cap Scotland legend Bryan Redpath, centre Cameron was born in Narbonne, France. He was selected in England’s 34-man squad for their 2018 tour of South Africa but was unable to travel with the squad because of injury. The 20-year-old, who recently departed Sale Sharks for Bath Rugby, has also represented England U20, scoring three tries in nine appearances.
Centre: Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors) – The 20-year-old continues a low-slung surge towards Test recognition. His slicing angles are troubling Premiership midfields, a kicking game is developing and he even dotted down at the tail of a driving maul in the comprehensive win over Harlequins.
Winger: Ratu Naulago (Bristol Bears) – The speedster took Super League by storm with Hull RFC, scoring 17 tries in 26 games, before signing with Bristol Bears for the 2020/21 Gallagher Premiership season. It will be a switch back to union for Naulago, who previously won the Premiership 7s title with Saracens. If he can hit the ground running, he’d be right in the frame for a call-up from Eddie Jones.