European Challenge Cup: Bristol Bears beat Zebre as Ioan Lloyd impresses

Ioan Lloyd
Ioan Lloyd made it three tries in four games for Bristol in 2019-20
European Challenge Cup Pool Four
Bristol Bears (38) 59
Tries: Capon, Fricker, O'Connor, Lloyd, D Thomas, Y Thomas, Powell, Uren Cons: Lloyd 7, Sheedy Pens: Lloyd
Zebre Rugby (7) 21
Tries: Bellini, Tavayuca, Penalty Cons: Canna 2

Fly-half Ioan Lloyd marked his first start for Premiership leaders Bristol Bears with 22 points in their 59-21 European Challenge Cup win over Zebre.

After conceding the opening try the Bears ran riot, with five first-half scores to secure a bonus point.

Yann Thomas rolled over in a maul after the break for Bristol's sixth try.

Zebre responded with Apisai Tauyavuca's try and a penalty score before academy duo Charlie Powell and Andy Uren took the Bears over 50 points late on.

Two sin-binnings - for Ed Holmes and his replacement James Dun - put the home side under some pressure, but the lead was always big enough to hold out.

With six defeats from six in the Pro14 it always looked an ominous task for the visitors, who were overpowered by the Bears' powerful pack which allowed the lively Lloyd time and space to dictate behind.

Zebre made an adventurous start in front of a 10,000-plus crowd, highlighted as Mattia Bellini waltzed through after a scrappy passage to open the scoring.

However, a mix of forward aggression and the Italian club's indiscipline handed Bristol numerous opportunities to strike, and Pat Lam will have been delighted by the variety of ways in which his side pierced the defence in that crucial first period.

Capon and Dan Thomas' scores both came on the back of repeated surges on a line which eventually buckled, while Piers O'Connor and Lloyd both split the line to cruise in from distance for their five-pointers.

Powell and Uren both found gaps late on, the latter showing presence of mind to plant the ball down after a sniping run.

Toby Fricker's try was the pick of the bunch, created by Charles Piutau's break and offload, a stooping pick-up by Christopher Vui and the composure to slip his winger in and set Ashton Gate bouncing.

Bristol Bears: C Piutau; Morahan, O'Conor, S Piutau (c), Fricker; Lloyd, Randall; Thomas, Capon, Lahiff, Holmes, Joyce, Vui, Thomas, Hamilton.

Replacements: Thacker, Lay, Thiede, Hawkins, Dun, Uren, Sheedy, Powell.

Zebre: Padovani; Bruno, Bisegni, Boni, Bellini; Canna, Violi; Fischetti, Manfredi, Zilocchi, Sisi, Biagi, Mbanda, Tauyavuca, Giammarioli.

Relacements: Fabiani, Rimpelli, Bello, Krumov, Masselli, Palazzani, Biondelli, Elliott

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