Match Stats - Fix Info
Match Page 2017-18 - Summary
Alapati Leiua scored the winning try ten minutes from time as Bristol Bears upset Bath Rugby to win the first game of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby season in front of a record crowd.
With 26,079 packed into Ashton Gate, the most ever for a Friday night game in England’s top flight, the hosts needed to put on a show in their first game back and they delivered in style.
Fly-half Ian Madigan slotted over four penalties before wing Leiua juggled the ball and dived over in the corner to send the majority of the ans inside Ashton Gate wild.
Tom Homer scored Bath’s try but the visitors will be left wondering what if after a number of missed chances.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) August 31, 2018
Bristol came out of the traps strongly and Ireland international Madigan got the first points of the season with a mid-range penalty.
But Bath, with new signing Jamie Roberts providing a powerful presence in midfield, responded well and should have scored the first try when full-back Homer wrapped around nicely to latch onto a popped up pass, but he spilled the ball while diving in for the try.
Madigan’s second penalty put the Bears six clear and it should have been more shortly after when wing Luke Morahan found a gap in the Bath defence and powered through.
However, instead of releasing the ball on his inside for a score he held onto it for too long and was tackled.
Madigan got the first points of the second half with a third penalty of the match, while opposite number Rhys Priestland struggled off the tee – missing his first two attempts.
— Bristol Bears (@BristolBears) August 31, 2018
But Bath quickly responded after his second miss, with full-back Homer making amends for that earlier mistake by finishing powerfully from close-range.
That noticeably changed the momentum and only a deliberate Tusi Pisi knock-on prevented Bath adding a second shortly after.
But Priestland booted a penalty to put them ahead at last, however that woke the Bears up.
Morahan made an incisive break and passed to Leiua, who just about kept hold of it after three juggles and slammed it into the turf.
Bath pressed hard after but the Bears held out for a famous derby win.