Bristol Bears stun Bath 17-10 in Premiership opener

Ian Madigan kicked four penalties for Bristol Rugby
Ian Madigan kicked four penalties for Bristol Rugby

Bristol Rugby 17-10 Bath Rugby, Ashton Gate

Bristol Bears celebrated their return to the Premiership with a 17-10 victory over Bath Rugby in the season opener at Ashton Gate on Friday.

This is also the third time in the tournament's history that a promoted team managed to win the opening game of the season as they claim four points while Bath was awarded a losing bonus point.

Ian Madigan scored the first points of the season with a ninth minute penalty goal to get the home side off the mark before Rhys Priestland hit one on the post.

Todd Blackadder's men thought they had their first points on the board in the 15th minute when Priestland set up Tom Homer for an easy try but replays showed that the fullback lost control of the ball before dotting down.

Just close to the half-hour mark, Madigan kicked his second penalty kick to take Bristol to 6-0 lead heading into the break.

Bristol were quick to get off in the second half with Madigan slotting his third penalty goal to take them to 9-0 after Sam Underhill was pinged down at breakdown.

Nevertheless, Bath finally managed to respond when Homer rectified the mistake he did in the first half to cross over in the 52nd minute and Priestland slotted the conversion to reduce the gap to two points.

The visitors upped the ante when Bristol's Tusi Pisi was sin-binned close to end of the third quarter but all Bath managed was a penalty kick from Priestland during the next 10 minutes when they had an additional player.

As the final 15 minutes kicked-off, Bristol were trailing by 9-10 but Pat Lam's men ensured they seized the vital moment when Madigan kicked a 35 meter penalty to make it 12-10 and by the 72nd minute Alapati Leiua strolled past the line to seal a 17-10 victory and a victorious start in the campaign.

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the can only be the Gallagher Premiership.

12 teams compete in the league over a season, playing every team both home and away, before four move into the playoffs and one is relegated.

The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?

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