Gallagher Premiership review: Bristol and London Irish draw; Harlequins win

Action from Ashton Gate
Action from Ashton Gate

A review of Sunday's action in the Gallagher Premiership, where Bristol and London Irish played out a thrilling draw at Ashton Gate.

Sunday's results

  • Bristol 27-27 London Irish
  • Harlequins 23-19 Gloucester

London Irish snatch draw

A late penalty from Stephen Myler saw 14-man London Irish earn a battling 27-27 draw against Bristol at Ashton Gate.

The visitors had just taken a 7-3 lead when Ollie Hoskins' careless shoulder charge into a ruck connected with the head of Bristol lock Chris Vui on the brink of half-time. Replays of the incident were played and referee Wayne Barnes ordered the prop off.

Nathan Hughes, Charles Piutau, Ed Holmes and Harry Thacker scored the Bears' tries, with Callum Sheedy kicking a penalty and conversion. Ioan Lloyd added a conversion.

Ben Meehan, Waisake Naholo and Tom Parton scored tries for Irish, with Myler adding two penalties and three conversions.

A brilliant run from Piutau was the first notable piece of action. Inside his own 22, the Bristol full-back collected an aimless kick before beating three opponents.

He then raced over halfway before kicking ahead but visiting centre Tom Stephenson beat Toby Fricker to the touchdown.

After 12 minutes the home side suffered a blow when their flanker Dan Thomas departed with a leg injury, with Scottish international Luke Hamilton coming on to replace him.

Sheedy had the chance to put the first points on the board in the 21st minute but his 40-metre penalty attempt rebounded back off a post.

Five minutes later, Sheedy succeeded with a simple kick to get the scoreboard moving.

A handling error from Naholo gave the hosts an attacking platform but Irish continued to put in a committed tackling shift to keep their line intact and were rewarded with the opening try.

A neat off-load from centre Terrence Hepetema created space for Curtis Rona before his inside pass sent Meehan over.

Myler converted, with Sheedy making a hash of a penalty attempt before Hoskins was red-carded to leave Irish 7-3 ahead at half-time.

After the interval, it took Bristol only five minutes to break down the 14 men, with Thacker's burst setting up a try for Hughes.

Sheedy's conversion hit a post before Myler put Irish back in front with a straightforward penalty but Bristol exploded into life with an excellent try.

Quick handling gave Fricker the chance to fly down the right flank before the supporting Piers O'Conor provided Piutau with an easy run-in.

However Irish would not lie down, with Naholo intercepting and racing 60 metres to score before Bristol immediately withdrew Sheedy and Hughes.

Bristol looked in serious trouble but another strong burst from Thacker split the defence before a superb run from replacement Holmes, who evaded three tacklers, saw him score.

Bristol then lost prop John Afoa to the sin bin and Irish immediately capitalised when Parton sneaked in at the corner before Bristol looked to have won it with their bonus point try.

Their star player, Thacker was the scorer but up stepped Myler to hold his nerve and succeed with a 40-metre kick.

Harlequins resist Gloucester

Billy Twelvetrees missed a simple late penalty at The Stoop as Harlequins held on for a tense 23-19 victory over Gloucester.

Gloucester played the more attractive rugby and a first-half brace from Ollie Thorley gave the visitors reward for their efforts.

However, the Cherry and Whites were left ruing poor discipline that allowed Quins to claim only their second league win of the season.

A first-half try from Ross Chisholm and a second after the break from man of the match Alex Dombrandt, combined with two Marcus Smith penalties, gave Quins a 20-19 lead late on.

Up stepped Twelvetrees, on as a second-half replacement, in the closing moments looking to end Gloucester's losing run that has now stretched to five games in all competitions.

But his simple penalty from in front was pushed wide in the wind of south west London and Smith showed him how it was done to put the icing on the cake.

The first opportunity of the game fell to Lewis Ludlow, who had a chance to go over in the corner in the opening five minutes and he would have if it were not for the sterling defensive efforts of Dombrandt.

It was the home side who took the lead though when Smith converted a simple penalty from in front of the sticks to make it 3-0 with 10 minutes gone.

Some good handling then put Quins on the back foot just on halfway and Thorley spotted some space from the base of the ruck to go himself and went through unchallenged under the posts.

Paul Gustard's men managed to take an unexpected 10-7 lead against the run of play midway through the first half; a lovely Ross Chisholm run on the 22 saw him slip his defender and give a simple dummy to beat the last man and cross over.

Gloucester recovered and pounded the Quins line for phase after phase until Danny Cipriani found Thorley, who had an easy run into the corner for his second of the day.

They were again left ruing poor discipline though as Smith converted another simple penalty in front of the posts, giving Quins a 13-12 half-time advantage.

A tremendous defensive effort from Quins kept Gloucester at bay for the first 16 minutes of the second half but eventually skipper Ben Morgan slipped a routine tackle and crashed over from short range in a moment.

This time it was the hosts' turn to hit back immediately as a lovely inside pass from Smith to Dombrandt allowed the number eight to thunder through several tackles and put his side 20-19 in front with 20 minutes to go.

James Lang was offered the opportunity to extend the advantage to 23-19 with just over 10 minutes remaining but squandered a long-range effort.

Gloucester were then awarded a penalty on the 22, but fortunately for Quins Twelvetrees fluffed his lines and shot wide of the right upright.

It was another very tense finish at The Stoop but a third penalty from Smith at the death made sure of it as Gloucester could not complete the comeback.

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