Bristol Harlequins stunned to come off the bottom

Gabriel Ebetoye’s excellent finishing gave Bristol a 10-point halftime lead against Harlequins
Harlequins: (5) 12
Try: Bassett, Morley Deceive: Allen
Bristol: (15) 15
Try: Thaker. Ibitoye Deceive: McGuinty. pen: McGuinty

Bristol Bears moved away from the bottom of the Premier League as they clung on to a gutsy win over Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop.

Tries by Harry Thacker and Gabriel Ibetoye, either side of Josh Bassett, gave Bristol a 10-point half-time lead.

Caden Morley cut the deficit to three on the hour as Queens dominated possession and territory.

Despite being held scoreless and losing Ibitoye to Sin Ben Bristol held on.

The victory, their first in the Premier League since September, takes them two points above Bath while a frustrated Queen’s remain in third place after missing out on the chance to finish second with their first defeat in five matches – as the top four before Christmas suffered celebratory defeats. .

There was a festive atmosphere before kick-off as the local fans applauded Retired Shauna Brown Prop, who was carried from the field on the shoulders of her teammates after Queen’s. 48-14 win over Bristol in a Premier 15s match before the men’s match.

However, when it was their turn, they got off to an uncertain start as they looked to capitalize on mistakes by leaders Saracens, Sale and Gloucester – with winger Will Evans knocked out a Head Injury Assessment (HIA) in the first minute before struggling for accuracy in his handling and at the line.

Bristol, by contrast, were energetic and tidy, and after AJ MacGinty scored an early penalty, discipline up front was rewarded when hooker Thacker drove in from a rolling kick for his seventh try in the last eight matches as the Queens defense converted once. way and then the other.

It wasn’t until halfway through the first period that the Quins finally got off their offense.

Andre Esterhuizen bounced off eighth seed Magnus Bradbury at the halfway point and sent Queens racing down the left, and after a combination of great maneuvering and clever lines, Bassett slid into the corner as the trailing Bears defense had no time to recover.

But just as the hosts were threatening to swing through the gears, Bristol responded with a superb effort from Ibetoye.

The former Queens winger had plenty to do as he latched on to a long pass 10 meters out on the left, but a glancing step from the touchline just inside saw four Queens defenders cover as he cut through the line to restore the visitors’ 10-point lead. halftime.

Ibitoye then showed his defensive prowess in denying Care a scoring early in the second half, driving the scrum-half’s toe into the touchline trying to save as the number nine sprinted into the corner after Esterhuizen’s brilliant reverse offload collected.

The Quins’ steamy head couldn’t be subdued for long though, and they pulled within three points with another clever score as Marchant broke the winning streak inside the Bears 22 before Care’s vision and perfect cross-field kick found Murphy lurking on the right to dive over.

As he continued to deny kicks on goal for kicks in the corner, Quins looked like shooting for the win when Ibitoye received a yellow card for driving with his shoulder into tackle Esterhuizen with four minutes left in the game.

And at the last minute they created a chance to win the match.

Replacement Oscar Bird broke after pulling off the Bears’ No. 22 before feeding Esterhuizen, who sprinted towards the line only to have the South African center brought down by McGuinty’s desperate tackle.

When Esterhuizen stumbled over the line, a sliding rip off a diving Tom Whiteley blocked the attempt in a dramatic defensive piece that decided the points for Bristol.

Bristol director of rugby Pam Lam told BBC Radio Bristol:

“It was a brave second half from us. We were working on the areas of our game that we needed around defending, chasing down and shutting down our contacts.

“What an incredible competition we had – when the bottom three teams eliminated the top three teams in the same weekend.

“I’m really happy with the coaching staff and the players. When you’re at the bottom of the table there’s a lot of pressure coming from outside.

“The way I see it, we’re only six or seven out of fourth place – that’s why this competition is great. Nobody comes from the bottom but the way this competition works all teams have a chance of getting into the top four.”

Harlequins coach Tabai Matson:

“We totally support our players and our captain to be really positive. In hindsight, it takes the three, he gets the equalizer. He probably goes out and makes another crack.

“But one of the things I love about joining this club is the positive intent. If there’s a chance to score a try, we’ll go for it first.

“And so I tip my hat to the decision. It obviously cost us, but I tip my hat.”

Harlequins: David. Morley, Marchant, Esterhuizen, Bassett, Allen, Kerr; Marler, Walker, Low; Hammond, Herbst, White, Evans, Dombrandt.

Alternatives: Head, Baxter, Kerrod, Matthews, Loday, Glatima, Edwards, Bird

Bristol: Lyn, Morahan, Radradra, Bidlo, Ipetoe, McGuinty, Oren; Thomas, Thacker, LeHave, Batley, Funeral, Luwatua, Heenan, Bradbury.

Alternatives: Kerr, Woolmore, Tayac, Stoke, Thomas, Whitley, O’Connor, Lloyd

to rule: Carl Dickinson

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