Planet Rugby

Bristol take a break from the stress

16th January 2009 22:47

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Ed Barnes Bristol

Ed Barnes: Impressive kicking display for Bristol

Bristol put their Guinness Premiership struggles to one side to record a 37-19 win over Toulon in the European Challenge Cup on Friday.

Coach Richard Hill was rewarded for his decision to pick a strong side for the tie, despite the fact they could not progress from Pool Two.

Opponents Toulon were also already out of the running to reach the knockout stages with Northampton well ahead following their win in Montpellier.

With no chance of qualification former New Zealand captain Tana Umaga used the opportunity to rest some of the home team's stars.

Missing so many of their leading lights, Toulon found themselves 20-6 down at the break before launching a spirited recovery in the second 40 minutes.

Olivier Grimaud grabbed the only try for the hosts which fly-half Sébastien Fauque converted, having contributed all six points before the break.

When the number 10 knocked over his second drop goal just before the hour mark, Bristol's once healthy lead had been whittled down to just four points.

However, Ed Barnes' penalty gave the visitors some extra breathing space and although Fauque did respond with three more points, two late tries sealed the result.

England scrum-half Shaun Perry grabbed the first with eight minutes to play and then in the closing stages Lee Robinson went over for a second time.

The winger had already touched down after 32 minutes before adding to his tally just before the final whistle to give the final scoreline a flattering look.

Barnes converted both to go alongside his three penalties to give him a personal haul of 13 points, though his night was marred slightly by a yellow card.

Flanker Nathan Budgett had scored Bristol's first try as the Premiership's bottom club enjoyed a welcome break from their domestic struggles.

Elsewhere, Dax beat Rovigo 22-20 in a meaningless match at the bottom of Pool Two, while Saracens proved too good for Mont-de-Marsan in Pool Five, winning 33-19 at the Stade Jean Dauger.

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