It was a mighty performance from Peter Thorburn’s side who were winless and bottom of the table before this game and when White was given his marching orders by namesake referee Chris White after a flare-up at a scrum just 180 seconds in, it seemed that Bristol would have yet another fruitless day at the office.
However, after the melee, which also saw Tigers’ flanker Lewis Moody sent to the sin-bin, Bristol refused to be rattled and Felipe Contepomi kept his cool to open their scoring on nine minutes with a well taken penalty.
He added a second four minutes late and managed a third before Leicester awoke from their slumber, Australian centre Rod Kafer slicing through the home defence, fullback Tim Stimpson adding the extras.
If that was to be the spark to Leicester’s fire, it was more of a smoulder than a blaze, Bristol holding on to go in to the break with a morale-boosting 12-7 half-time lead.
Stimpson cut the deficit to just two 53 minutes in but he missed the opportunity to level things up soon after and the Shoguns made the Tigers pay for such profligacy as they stole possession and the exciting centre Phil Christophers stunned the defending champions with a great individual try much to the delight of the Memorial Ground faithful.
Leicester finally made their extra man pay as substitute scrum-half Harry Ellis capitalised on the Shoguns’ back-row being a man down, scampering through to score a relatively soft try, Stimpson again adding the conversion.
Contepomi then scored a vital fifth penalty to settle Bristol nerves leaving Leicester needing to score a try and when Leicester’s Darren Garforth was sin-binned with under ten minutes left, Contepomi added a sixth to seal a fully deserved victory.
Bristol ShogunsTries: ChristophersCons: ContepomiPens: Contepomi 6
Leicester TigersTries: Kafer, EllisCons: Stimpson 2Pens: Stimpson 2