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Bristol finally up and running after seeing off Sale

Published 11/11/2016

Bristol's Jack Tovey (centre) scored as his side won
Bristol's Jack Tovey (centre) scored as his side won

After a run of 10 defeats, Bristol won for the first time this season with a deserved 26-11 success over Sale in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

The win saw the home side avenge their league defeat when Sale triumphed 31-13 at Ashton Gate only three weeks ago.

Jason Woodward, Jack Tovey and Rhodri Williams scored Bristol's tries with Billy Searle kicking two penalties and a conversion. Replacement Adrian Jarvis added a penalty.

The win came at the end of a stormy week for the club which saw Andy Robinson leave his coaching role to be replaced by Mark Tainton.

Halani Aulika scored a try for Sale with Dan Mugford and Tom Arscott both adding penalties.

Mugford put the visitors ahead with an eighth-minute penalty but Bristol soon responded with the opening try.

A clever kick ahead from Searle saw debutant centre Woodward collect and score as the home side had the better of the opening quarter.

However the hosts continued to give away needless penalties and Sale could easily have regained the lead had Mugford's attempt from 50 metres not rebounded back off the crossbar.

Eventually Searle rewarded Bristol's early dominance with a penalty before Mugford had another chance for the visitors but his kick was well of target.

After 30 minutes, Sale produced their first real attacking movement with skipper Johnny Leota twice involved to put the home defence on the back foot. A try appeared likely but lock George Nott lost possession as he forced his way over the line.

Bristol immediately releasing the pressure when Woodward intercepted Tom Arscott's pass to race away. The centre was hauled down but a well-judged kick from Searle was collected by Tom Varndell, who was brought down narrowly short of the try-line as Bristol won a penalty.

They chose an attacking line-out and were rewarded with a try from Williams but suffered a setback when hooker Rob Hawkins collected a yellow card for his involvement in the melee that followed the awarding of the try.

In the hooker's absence Sale never looked like capitalising but, following his return, they soon did so when Aulika forced his way over to finish off a driving line-out.

Despite the concession of this score, Bristol still possessed the stronger drives and one of these had their opponents back peddling and this allowed them to produce a well executed three-movement, which resulted in Tovey bursting through a gap to score.

20-8 down, Sale made a number of changes with Peter Stringer, Josh Charnley, Sam Tuitupou and T.J.Ioane all being introduced in attempt to reverse their fortunes.

It did not pay immediate dividends as Searle extended Bristol's lead with his second penalty before Arscott kicked one for Sale.

A penalty from Jarvis gave Bristol some breathing space before Aulika left the field with an injury to complete a miserable night for Sale.

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