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By Ian Todd
December 2 2018

Bristol recorded their biggest ever win against Leicester in a game that saw the home side crush the visitors and prevent them scoring anything in the second half of a 41 - 10 victory.

If the coaching team were rueing a slow start against Wasps they will have had no complaints when Bristol opened up the visitors with just over a minute gone.  A neat inside ball from Ian Madigan freed Alapati Leiua to carve through a Tiger’s midfield that looked vulnerable throughout the game.  He had support on either side but passed inside to Harry Thacker who was already celebrating as he cruised over by the posts.  The all-action hooker was shortly after the recipient of a high tackle from Eastmond, although he managed to get the ball to Luke Morahan who appeared to be blocked as he chipped ahead.  Play went back for the penalty and Madigan added the points in another excellent kicking display.

Despite the hosts having initial dominance, Leicester narrowed the gap when some slack defending allowed Tuilagi to touch down, astonishingly not injuring himself in the process.  Eastmond then managed to remove himself from the pitch with another high tackle, this one on Madigan.  There was a prolonged discussion with the TMO before what seemed a harsh decision to show the red card.  A yellow was the consensus where I sat.  Although the decision clearly had an effect on the game, Bristol were clearly on top at that point.

Madigan, after some treatment, nailed the penalty kick.  The officials then temporarily equalised the numbers when John Afoa was shown yellow for a shoulder charge that he probably didn’t need to make given the two Bristol tacklers already in attendance.  An exchange of penalties followed and then Stephen Luatua broke into space, the defender failed to hold him in the tackle so Luatua rightly carried on before offloading to Thacker who this time took the swallow dive route over the line.

Bristol then took complete charge when Leicester coughed up the ball in the middle of the pitch.  A slightly surprised looking Afoa patted the ball back and a long pass from Madigan went out to Luke Morahan on the wing.  A little jink left May totally wrong-footed and Morahan outpaced the England wing before arcing in for a lovely try.

A rare bonus-point try came up from an audacious quickly taken tapped penalty from Harry Randall saw the diminutive scrum half race clear and evn ride the efforts of two last ditch defenders to get the ball over the line.  Pragmatically Bristol chose to keep the scoreboard ticking over with two more well struck penalties from Madigan.  The final quarter saw heroic defence from Bristol and, to be honest, heroic attack from Leicester as the hosts prevented Tigers from gaining a consolation score.


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