Match Report

Bristol Bears - 85

Newcastle Falcons - 14

Sunday 21st Apr 2024 | KO 15:00 | Ashton Gate

Newcastle Falcons endured a miserable afternoon in the West Country on Sunday, with a rampant Bristol Bears side recording an emphatic Gallagher Premiership victory at Ashton Gate.

The Falcons trailed 47-7 after a nightmare first half, with Bristol’s power, running lines and offloading game proving too much for the Northeasterners.

The visitors had found themselves a try behind inside two minutes when Bristol caught the kick-off and went the length – Siva Naulago scoring on a supporting run from a Harry Randall line-break.

AJ MacGinty added the conversion, and the USA international was doing so again three minutes later when lock James Duns scored the Bears’ second try from a pick-and-go in the left corner.

The pain got worse quickly after when Max Malins hit a hard midfield running line for number three on nine minutes, but the Falcons got themselves off the mark when Adam Radwan showed a clean pair of heels to Gabriel Ibitoye to score from 50 metres out down the right.

Brett Connon slotted the simple conversion, but his team were back underneath their own posts when Magnus Bradbury collected an offload from Randall’s snipe to register the Bears’ bonus-point try.

James Williams crossed for their fifth when the centre caught a looping midfield pass and slipped a tackle to dot down. Ellis Genge followed that up with a powerful run to add another, and Bristol’s 47-7 half-time lead was assured when Benhard Janse van Rensburg scored in the left corner.

Randall’s supporting run saw the scrum-half scoring the second half’s opening try as Bristol’s points deluge continued, and with the result all but decided both sides turned to their bench for the closing half-hour.

The home side’s second try of the half arrived on the hour mark when Randall’s replacement, Kieran Marmion, scored from a maul break-out in the right corner.

Newcastle kept plugging away and earned their second try on 64 minutes when Brett Conon intercepted and raced home from 55 metres out, adding the conversion to his own score.

It proved to be only a temporary break in the pain as Jake Heenan ran one in for the Bears after coming on from the bench, followed quickly after by a second from Janse van Rensburg and two more from Virimi Vakatawa.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Ben Redshaw, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Oli Spencer, 12 Tom Penny (Rory Jennings, 30), 11 Iwan Stephens (Matias Morini,46), 10 Brett Connon, 9 Sam Stuart (Max Pepper, 53); 1 Adam Brocklebank (Mark Dormer, 61), 2 Jamie Blamire (Bryan Byrne, 53), 3 Richard Palframan (Eduardo Bello, 53), 4 Tim Cardall (John Kelly, 61), 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Philip van der Walt, 7 Sam Cross, 8 Callum Chick (captain, Freddie Lockwood, 53).

Scorers – Tries: Adam Radwan, Brett Connon. Conversions: Brett Connon 2.

Bristol Bears: 15 Max Malins, 14 Siva Naulago (Rich Lane, 58), 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 James Williams, 11 Gabriel Ibitoye, 10 AJ MacGinty (Virimi Vakatawa, 46), 9 Harry Randall (Kieran Marmion, 48); 1 Ellis Genge (Jake Woolmore, 46), 2 Gabriel Oghre (Will Capon, 46), 3 Kyle Sinckler (Max Lahiff,46), 4 James Dun, 5 Josh Caulfield, 6 Steven Luatua (Jake Heenan, 46), 7 Fitz Harding (captain), 8 Magnus Bradbury.

Scorers – Tries: Siva Naulago, James Dun, Max Malins, Magnus Bradbury, James Williams, Ellis Genge, Benhard Janse van Rensburg 2, Harry Randall, Kieran Marmion, Jake Heenan, Virimi Vakatawa 2. Conversions: AJ MacGinty 6, James Williams 3, Benhard Janse van Rensburg.

Referee: Luke Pearce.