Premiership: Bristol Bears 41-10 Leicester Tigers 1 Dec From the section Rugby Union Share this page Share this with Digg Facebook Google LinkedIn Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Copy this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/46361278 Read more about sharing. Harry Thacker was with Leicester Tigers for eight seasons before joining Bristol for this termGallagher PremiershipBristol Bears (21) 41Tries: Thacker 2,…
Premiership: Bristol Bears 41-10 Leicester Tigers
|Bristol Bears (21) 41|
|Tries: Thacker 2, Morahan, Randall Cons: Madigan 3 Pens: Madigan 5|
|Leicester Tigers (10) 10|
|Tries: Tuilagi Cons: Ford Pens: Ford|
Harry Thacker scored two tries to set up Bristol for a 41-10 bonus-point win against his former side Leicester, who played with 14 men for 55 minutes.
Thacker’s tries, to put Bristol 21-10 up at the break, came either side of Kyle Eastmond’s red card for Tigers for a high tackle on Ian Madigan.
Tigers’ only try came from Manu Tuilagi on his return from England duty.
Further tries from Luke Morahan and Harry Randall ensured Bristol moved above Tigers in the table up to sixth.
The Bears’ third Premiership victory since winning promotion from the Championship was their biggest against Leicester and their first in eight games against the Tigers, dating back 11 years.
Leicester’s defeat against a side that started the day second from bottom, was their sixth in a row in domestic league and cup competitions.
Thacker, in his first game against the Tigers since moving to Ashton Gate last summer, took less than two minutes to score the game’s opening try.
Madigan extended the hosts’ lead with a penalty, and while Tuilagi hit back for Tigers with a fine solo effort, Leicester’s hopes took a heavy blow when centre Eastmond was sent off for a high tackle on the fly-half in the 25th minute.
Madigan landed the ensuing penalty, but Bristol soon found themselves a man down as well after John Afoa was yellow-carded for a shoulder charge on Jonny May.
And while George Ford pulled three points back from the tee, Bristol went on to extend their advantage while it was a 14-man contest, with Madigan slotting a penalty before Thacker went over for his fifth try in two games.
Bristol added to the 11-point lead in stunning fashion with two quick-fire tries after the break, Morahan outpacing May out wide to go over and Randall coming up with his first Premiership try and the hosts’ fourth of the afternoon.
Madigan competed victory with two more penalties, taking his personal tally for the afternoon to 21 points, while Bristol’s ability to keep Tigers scoreless after the break exemplified their dominance.
Bristol head coach Pat Lam:
“I am extremely pleased. It was our biggest-ever win against Leicester and five points, given the nature of the competition, is massive.
“The collective effort pleased me most. The forwards were superb, which allowed individuals to shine. We scored some very good tries.
“We have taken eight points in the last three games and to do that against Exeter, Wasps and Leicester is huge.
“In context, it’s a massive win. It is a big day for us, particularly when you look at the individuals they had.”
Leicester interim head coach Geordan Murphy:
“We had a pretty poor start in the game, but we came back into it and pulled it back to 10-7. And then the high tackle kills us.
“Wayne Barnes is one of the best referees around and he deemed it to be a head-high tackle, and that’s the law.
“It is huge in a game like that. Down to 14 men against a side like Bristol, who want to throw the ball around, it was always going to be a very long day at the office.
“It was going to be tough and we ran out of steam. We were exposed at times. That will boost Bristol’s chances of staying up.”
Bristol Bears: C Piutau; Morahan, Hurrell, S Piutau (co-capt), Leiua; Madigan, Randall; Y Thomas, Thacker, Afoa, Joyce, Muldowney, Luatua, Smith, Crane (co-capt).
Replacements: Malton, Woolmore, Thiede, Holmes, D Thomas, Uren, Sheedy, O’Connor.
Leicester Tigers: Holmes; Thompstone, M Tulagi, Eastmond, May; G Ford (capt), B Youngs; Genge, Kerr, Cole, Spencer, Kitchener, Williams, O’Connor, Kalamafoni.
Replacements: Polota-Nau, Gigena, Cortes, Wells, Fitzgerald, White, Toomua, M Smith.
Referee: Wayne Barnes