Bristol overturned an 11-3 half-time deficit to down Rotherham Titans 22-11 in the second leg of Championship semi-final playoff.
Bristol overturned an 11-3 half-time deficit to down Rotherham Titans 22-11 in the second leg of Championship semi-final playoff at Clifton Lane..
The victory means Bristol are through to the playoff final, winning 39-25 on aggregate and taking the big-spenders one step closer to a Premiership return.
Former Cardiff Blues and Wales fly-half Nicky Robinson was instrumental, kicking 17 points, and with both sides registering a try apiece, his opposite number Juan Pablo Socino missed with several shots at goal.
It was Robinson who opened the scoring, knocking over his first of five penalties with six minutes gone, before his rival levelled things up ten minutes later.
Things threatened to go a tad pear-shaped for the promotion favourites, however, as Michael Keating managed to force his way over in the corner to dot down, confirmed by the TMO.
Socino was wide with the conversion, but when Bristol number eight Marco Mama was sent to the sin-bin just before the break, the pivot stepped up to extend the Titans' lead.
This had hearts in mouths over in the West Country, with Sean Holley's men trailing by five points on aggregate. They needn't have worried.
It was an incredibly tense second forty minutes, with Ben Mosses jinking his way over for a try, converted by Robinson, to bring Bristol back to within a point on the night, and two ahead overall.
Despite the close nature of the contest, Robinson's boot was unerring, slotting a further four penalties – one from especially long range – to steer Bristol into a commanding lead, and ensuring they remain on course for a return to England's top flight.
Pens: Socino 2
Pens: Robinson 4
Yellow card: Mama
Rotherham: 15 Sean Scanlon, 14 Jamie Broadley, 13 Joel Gill, 12 Jack Roberts, 11 Michael Keating, 10 Juan Pablo Socino, 9 Charlie Mulchrone (c), 8 Alfie To'oala, 7 Jack Preece, 6 Alex Rieder, 5 Josh Thomas-Brown, 4 Tom Holmes, 3 Colin Quigley, 2 Tom Cruse, 1 Toby Williams
Replacements: 16 Ali Birch, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Dan Sanderson, 20 Jordan Davies, 21 Dan White, 22 Dallan Murphy.
Bristol: 15 Jack Wallace, 14 George Watkins, 13 Luke Eves, 12 Ben Mosses, 11 Charlie Amesbury, 10 Nicky Robinson, 9 Luke Baldwin, 8 Marco Mama, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Nick Koster, 5 Glen Townson, 4 Mark Sorenson (c), 3 Gaston Cortes, 2 Ross Johnston, 1 Kyle Traynor
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 James Hall, 18 Ben Glynn, 19 Ben Skirving, 20 Ruki Tipuna, 21 Adrian Jarvis, 22 Jack Tovey.