Bristol Bears 27-27 London Irish, Ashton Gate
Stephen Myler kicked the decisive penalty goal in the closing stage as London Irish sealed a 27-27 draw against Bristol Bears despite a red-card for Oli Hoskins in the sixth round of the Gallagher Premiership at Ashton Gate on Sunday.
The draw result meant Bristol are at second place in the table with 17 points from five games while London Irish are at sixth place with 12 points.
The home side had a bit of setback with Dan Thomas replaced early in the 12th minute but they were the first to get off the mark through a 27th minute penalty goal from Callum Sheedy but London Irish bounced back with Ben Meehan's try in the 35th minute that came after an offload from Terrence Hepetema.
Stephen Myler kicked the conversion as they took the lead to 3-7 but as the half-time was approaching Bristol were reduced to 14-men with Hoskins red-carded for making contact with Chris Vui's head at the breakdown.
The pressure of having one man down was evident for London Irish as they conceded two tries in the opening stage of the second half with Nathan Hughes (45') and Charles Piutau (55') touching down for the hosts making the scoreline 15-10 by the end of the third quarter.
Despite the setback Waisake Naholo's try in the 63rd minute helped London Irish level the scores while Myler's conversion provided them a two-point lead but it was only short-lived as Ed Holmes crossed the whitewash for Bristol making the scoreline 20-17 heading into the final 10 minutes.
The Exiles made full use of the advantage when Bristol was sin-binned in the 73rd minute and Tom Parton went over the line followed by a conversion from Myler making the scoreline 20-24 but the momentum once again swung towards Pat Lam's side with Harry Thacker's try in the 77th minute and Ioan Lloyd improving it making it 27-24, only for Myler to ensure the teams shared the points with a 80th minute penalty goal.
“It was frustrating. As I said to the boys before the game, we were in a situation that is certainly unfamiliar for Bristol where we had a chance to go top of the table and everyone expects us to win," said Bristol head coach Pat Lam.
“With a minute and a half to go we had the five points but unfortunately we left most of them out there.
“There were a lot of good things, but we also have a lot of learning to do. We need to be ruthless and convert more points, particularly against a team like London Irish.”
Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the world...it 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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