Premiership: Bristol Bears rally to bonus-point win over Worcester Warriors

Bristol's Siale Piutau (red scrum cap) and Worcester's Marco Mama (8) were both on the scoresheet at Ashton Gate
Bristol's Siale Piutau (red scrum cap) and Worcester's Marco Mama (8) were both on the scoresheet at Ashton Gate
Gallagher Premiership
Bristol (11) 30
Tries: O'Connor, Byrne, S Piutau, penalty try Cons: Lloyd Pens: Lloyd 2
Worcester (8) 13
Tries: Howe, Mama Pens: Searle

Bristol Bears atoned for last weekend's losing start to the new Premiership season as they rallied to a flattering 30-13 bonus-point win over Worcester.

Bristol led 11-8 at the break after two Ioan Lloyd penalties and a breakaway try from Piers O'Connor, to edge Tom Howe's try and a Billy Searle penalty.

Marco Mama's unconverted try put Warriors in front for the only time.

But Bristol hit back with three second-half tries, for Brian Byrne, Siale Piutau and a late penalty try.

Exciting Welsh teenager Lloyd added a conversion to two early first-half kicks for an eight-point haul to add to a tremendous try-saving tackle in the corner on Warriors wing Nick David and his role in Bristol's opening try.

Under severe pressure in is own 22, Lloyd danced his way past four Worcester defenders before accelerating into a gap, then racing 50 yards upfield before drawing his man to put O'Connor over for a classic score.

Bristol old boy Searle then ghosted through a gap on 34 minutes before offloading to put Howe over for his second try in successive games.

The visitors began the second half strongly too, taking the lead after England international Ted Hill's powerful break helped release another Bristol old boy Mama to touch down in the right corner.

Byrne put the Bears back in front when he touched down from close range from a well-worked driving line-out, but Warriors were unlucky not to restore their lead when Howe had a second try chalked off.

Marco Mama's try against his old club put Worcester ahead for the only time against Bristol
Marco Mama's try against his old club put Worcester ahead for the only time against Bristol

The winger raced in after intercepting a pass from Piutau, but the video referee ruled that centre Oli Morris's challenge around the midriff on Piutau was too high.

Warriors were badly hampered by second-half injuries to key loose forwards Mama and Matt Kvesic, who was stretchered off in a neck brace after suffering a 'stinger', as well as two yellow cards.

Andrew Kitchener, sent off on Warriors' last visit to Ashton Gate in September for fighting with Piutau, this time spent just 10 minutes in the sin bin, for illegally sacking a maul.

His return to the pitch coincided with late replacement Conor Carey's late card, in the same incident that earned Bristol their clinching penalty try after the Irish prop illegally pulled down a driving line-out.

Worcester opened the new season with an 11-10 home win over London Irish a week ago before Bristol lost their first game, the following day, 23-20 at Wasps.

Bristol now host Northampton next Friday night, while Worcester are at home to Bath the following day.

Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam:

"We were unlucky to lose the game in the last three minutes against Wasps. It was important for us to control the game and put in a better performance.

"What I was really pleased about was our physicality. There's a lot of history between Worcester and Bristol and it's fair to say that they've completely dominated us physically in the past.

"The last time we played them at their ground and now here we've been good. If we don't bring that physicality it doesn't matter what we bring tactically. It won't matter.

"But we were excellent. We were a bit sloppy and tactically didn't get a few things right, but we just knew, if we got in the right areas and stayed patient, we'd be okay."

Worcester director of rugby Alan Solomons told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"It was very disappointing. But it's early in the season and we haven't had a normal pre-season of six weeks. We've had a minimal pre-season so things will take time.

"We had a lot of opportunities, which we wasted. In both halves we were camped in their 22, but we didn't close out those opportunities. We've got nobody to blame but ourselves.

"After taking the lead we knocked on from the restart and gave them a try straight back. We had a similar situation last week which we worked very hard at addressing.

"Unfortunately the players didn't adjust. We dominated territory and possession, but we just didn't translate the pressure we put on them into points."

Bristol: Lloyd; Adeolokun, O'Connor, S Piutau, Purdy; Bedlow, Randall; Y Thomas, Byrne, Afoa, Holmes, Joyce, Heenan, D Thomas, Hughes.

Replacements: Capon, Woolmore, Lahiff, Hawkins, Eadie, Uren, Eden, Leiua.

Worcester: Nanai; Howe, O Morris, Venter, David; Searle, Hougaard; Black, Annett, Schonert, Bresler, Kitchener, Hill (capt), Kvesic, Mama.

Replacements: Cutting, Waller, Carey, Merrick, Batley, Simpson, Shillcock, Beck.

Sin Bin: A. Kitchener (67), Carey (77).

Referee: Ian Tempest.