Planet Rugby

Leeds cut adrift by Bristol

09th March 2008 17:12

Share:

Leigh Hinton

It's a wrap: Leigh Hinton is caught in possession

Bristol heaped misery on striken Leeds at Headingley on Sunday, recording a bonus-point 30-12 victory over the side that now lies 14 points adrift of Worcester at the bottom of the Guinness Premiership.

It was a must-win game for the Yorkshiremen and an 13-6 interval lead encouraged hopes of only a second win of the season to keep alive their hopes of survival.

Bristol had other ideas, however, and after Leeds wing John Holtby was sin-binned in the 50th minute, they ran in three tries during a devastating purple patch.

Scrum-half Shaun Perry was the prime beneficiary, touching down in the 51st and 57th minutes before centre Rob Higgitt added a third on the hour mark.

The hat-trick of tries put Bristol in total control and skipper Joe El Abd added a late fourth to secured his side a bonus point.

It was Bristol's first away win in the league since January 2007 and condemned Leeds to their 14th defeat from 15 Premiership outings this season.

Stuart Lancaster's men are rock-bottom of the table with a pitiful tally of six points and not even their most ardent follower would back them to survive now.

And yet their customary spirit has never wavered, despite being outplayed and outclassed on such a regular basis.

They opened the scoring after just one minute and six seconds when Samoa centre Andy Tuilagi darted through a gaping hole in the Bristol defence to claim his first try of the season.

Alberto Di Bernardo added the extras but Bristol responded strongly when fly-half Ed Barnes landed a sixth-minute penalty to his side off the mark.

With skipper Stuart Hooper, Kearnan Myall and Jon Dunbar all making their presence felt in a towering Leeds pack, Lancaster's men drove forward at every opportunity.

There was craft, too, from behind the scrum in the shape of Di Bernardo and scrum-half Joe Bedford, who pinned Bristol back with a series of astute kicks.

Leeds should have extended their lead in the 12th minute when Di Bernardo skewed a penalty wide and they came desperately close to registering their second try three minutes later.

Dunbar, back in the side at flanker after injury, typified the spirit within the Leeds ranks when he charged down a kick from Perry and gave chase with the try-line begging.

The Scot hacked forward and looked certain to ground the ball but two Bristol defenders put paid to his progress and Leeds were denied.

Two minutes later, Di Bernardo missed another opportunity to put another three points on the board when he missed a penalty from distance.

However, in the 25th minute he did not err with the boot and his first successful penalty from his third attempt put Leeds 10-3 ahead.

That came moments after Bristol second row Sean Hohneck was sent to the sin-bin for persistent infringement.

Yet Perry and Barnes dovetailed effectively for Bristol throughout and another penalty from Barnes in the 29th minute kept the visitors right in contention at 10-6.

Four minutes before the break, Di Bernardo claimed his second successful penalty but shortly before the break it took an outstanding last-gasp tackle from Tom Biggs to deny Anthony Elliott a certain try.

Holtby was sent to the sin-bin 10 minutes after the break for infringement around the ruck and Leeds were quickly made to pay.

Perry touched down for a scrappy score barely a minute later and had his second six minutes later, again from close range.

Bristol were camped in the Leeds half and it came as no surprise when Higgitt was given the space to cross the line.

It was a remarkable turnaround and effectively settled the game, but Bristol still had time to claim a bonus-point when El Abd waltzed over the line in the 75th minute to further expose Leeds' weaknesses.

Barnes ended the game with two conversions to add to his two earlier penalties.

The scorers:

For Leeds:

Tries: Tuilagi

Cons: Brooks

Pens: Di Bernardo 2

For Bristol:

Tries: Perry 2, Higgitt, El Abd

Cons: Barnes 2

Pens: Barnes 2

Leeds: 15 Leigh Hinton, 14 John Holtby, 13 Jonny Hepworth, 12 Andy Tuilagi, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Alberto Di Bernardo, 9 Joe Bedford, 8 Adam Balding, 7 Hendre Fourie, 6 Jon Dunbar, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Tommy McGee, 2 Vili Ma'asi, 1 Mike MacDonald.

Replacements: 16 Fosi Pala'amo, 17 Rob Rawlinson, 18 Erik Lund, 19 Calum Clark, 20 James Brooks, 21 Lee Blackett, 22 Rob Vickerman.

Bristol: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Anthony Elliott, 13 Rob Higgitt, 12 David Hill, 11 David Lemi, 10 Ed Barnes, 9 Shaun Perry, 8 Andrew Blowers, 7 Joe El Abd (c), 6 Alfie To'oala, 5 Sean Hohneck, 4 Roy Winters, 3 Darren Crompton, 2 Mark Regan, 1 Dave Hilton.

Replacements: 16 Scott Linklater, 17 Jason Hobson, 18 Nathan Budgett, 19 Iain Grieve, 20 Brian O'Riordan, 21 Sam Cox, 22 Craig Morgan.

Referee: Martin Fox

Touch judges: Bruce Robertson, Alan Hughes

Assessor: Colin High, David Hudson

Television match official: Don Helme

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
International Match
Saturday , November 1
Barbarians vs Australia14:30
USA vs New Zealand20:50
More International Match fixtures
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
LV= Cup
Saturday , November 1
Sale Sharks vs Wasps14:00
Exeter vs Gloucester15:00
Bath vs London Welsh15:00
London Irish vs Leicester15:00
Northampton vs Newcastle16:00
More LV= Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs Edinburgh19:35
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
Glasgow vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues vs Munster17:15
Scarlets vs Zebre18:00
Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gons19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 1
Lyon vs Toulouse14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Oyonnax18:30
La Rochelle vs Montpellier18:30
Brive vs Castres18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Bayonne vs Clermont Auvergne20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615