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Match report | Bears claim bonus-point win over Tigers

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Leicester Tigers suffered a 41-10 defeat – and a first-half red card for centre Kyle Eastmond – against Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate on Saturday afternoon.

Bristol led 21-10 at half-time with two tries from former Tigers hooker Harry Thacker – the first after just 60 seconds – in a Gallagher Premiership Round 9 fixture.

Manu Tuilagi marked his return from Test duty with a try for Tigers who then lost Eastmond to a 25th-minute red card for a high tackle on Bristol fly-half Ian Madigan.

Bristol added a third try at the start of the second half from wing Luke Morahan and then Harry Randall claimed the bonus-point score for the hosts who moved level in the table with Tigers on 18 points.

Adam Thompstone led the Tigers out of the tunnel in his 150th club appearance, and it was Bears who got the game underway and they were on the scoreboard in just over 60 seconds as Thacker scored against his hometown club.

An inside ball on halfway created the space for Alapati Leiua and, after weaving up to the 22, his simple ball to the right put Thacker in to score, pumping his fist as he ran in to the right of the posts. Madigan added the kick for a seven-point lead.

Tigers had an immediate chance to respond after a Bristol error in front of their own posts, but they shut out Will Spencer and then Sione Kalamafoni before knocking-on as Leiua attempted to intercept on the right.

The scrum brought a free-kick to Tigers and Kalamafoni charged at the line but the viasitors lost possession just 10 metres out.

Bears then burst out in the backline along their right flank, Luke Morahan kicking cleverly down the touchline as Tigers scrambled back and George Ford cleared up.

Madigan made it 10-0 with a penalty following a high tackle from Eastmond on Thacker with 10 minutes elapsed.

From another attack, Will Hurrell was stopped by Tuilagi and, when Tigers were handed a penalty at the breakdown, it was the Tigers centre who celebrated as he claimed his fourth try of the season.

It was Thompstone who carried into the Bristol defence following the lineout on the right and the wing’s clever offload put Tuilagi away, beating one tackler and running in to the right of the posts. Ford’s conversion made it 10-7 on 18 minutes.

Bristol looked to get ball through hands whenever they had possession, while Tigers tried to build from set-piece possession, and the two styles collided when the hosts fumbled in their own half and Tuilagi pounced to claim the ball. Spencer and Thompstone carried forcefully in the 22 but another error gave Morahan a chance to break clear and Ford had to show his pace to cover.

Eastmond’s red card was confirmed after referee Wayne Barnes and TMO checked a hit on Madigan in midfield, with the official checking the point of contact on the replays before judging direct contact with force to the head.

Madigan, who did not need a head injury assessment, kicked the penalty from just short of halfway to make it 13-7.

Moments later, the hosts were also down to 14 men as prop John Afoa was yellow-carded for a no-arms tackle on Jonny May. Ford struck the penalty cleanly from 35 metres to bring it back to 13-10 on the half-hour.

Madigan, though, doubled the advantage with another kick and then Thacker claimed his second try – and fifth in two weeks – though not until the referee had checked the build-up where flanker Steve Luatua went to ground but bounced back up to run in behind the defence and find Thacker to diver over on the right.

This time Madigan pulled his conversion attempt across the posts but his side led 21-10 and there was no further change before the break.

With Bristol back up to their full strength following Afoa’s yellow card, Ford got the second half under way and Tigers introduced Harry Wells in the second row as a replacement for Kitchener.

The opening three minutes were played in the Bristol 22, with Tigers retaining possession, but after then turning over ball on halfway, the home side birst clear and Morahan beat May on the outside to score.

The extras from Madigan made it 28-10 on 45 minutes and the bonus-point score arrived five minutes later when scrum-half Randall took a tap-and-go penalty from 40 metres and had the legs to get to the line first.

Madigan took his tally to 15 points with the conversion as her made it 35-10.

The home crowd were ready to celebrate a fifth when Leiua broke down to the left, but Ford kept up with him and made the tackler just 10 metres out.

Great work from Wells turned defence into attack, with Holmes and Spencer involved as Tigers reached the 22 but a Bristol closed in and forced an error from Genge.

Geordan Murphy changed both props for the scrum, joining Tatafu Polota-Nau who replaced Jake Kerr at the previous stoppage, but they were penalised at the scrum and another whistle followed as Barnes judged that Tuilagi had tackled his man Siale Piutau a fraction before he had claimed the ball. Madigan struck the kick to make it 38-10.

Tigers were whistled for a ruck infringement three minutes later and Madigan took his tally to 21 points with the kick from 40-plus metres.

Matt Toomua replaced Ford on the hour and had the best chance for a consolation score as he first found Thompstone with a cross-kick, then received the return pass but got closed down 15 metres out and could not find support within range for the offload.

Tigers dominated possession in the final quarter but could not find a telling pass in the Bristol 22 as they also had to survive a breakaway as Morahan picked off a long pass from Toomua only for the whistle to blow for obstruction against the home side as Shaun Malton ran away under the posts.

It was Malton, too, who knocked-on in midfield as the clock approached 79 minutes, giving Tigers one last chance before Bristol won ball on the floor and brought the game to a close.

Match Details

HT ScoreHalf Time Score

BRI 21-10 LEI

FT ScoreFull Time Score

BRI 41-10 LEI




Wayne Barnes

Bristol Bears
Bristol Bears

Full Time

Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
Bristol Bears
Leicester Tigers

Match Stats

Bristol Bears
Leicester Tigers
Penalties Conceded
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
Tackles Won
194/223 87%
115/146 79%
Scrums Won
5/5 100%
6/6 100%
Lineouts Won
9/9 100%
6/7 86%

Player Stats

Bristol Bears
Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers
15Jonah Holmes
14Adam Thompstone
13Manu Tuilagi1T
12Kyle Eastmond
11Jonny May
10George Ford1C1P
9Ben Youngs
1Ellis Genge
2Jake Kerr
3Dan Cole
4Will Spencer
5Graham Kitchener
6Mike Williams
7Brendon O'Connor
8Sione Kalamafoni
16Tatafu Polota-Nau
17Facundo Gigena
18Gaston Cortes
19Harry Wells
20Michael Fitzgerald
21Ben White
22Matt Toomua
23Matt Smith



Thank You

To all the travelling supporters who made the journey to Bristol today, thanks for your support and  we hope you have a safe journey home. 


Bristol 41 Tigers 10 


Final Play

Tigers with the ball as the clock runs down but Bristol turnover at a ruck and kick to touch to end the game. 


Tigers Attack Again

Tigers win a free kick at the scrum and tap and go, running the ball into the Bristol 22. 


Bristol Ball

Bristol with a few phases but they knock-on in a tackle to give Tigers a scrum between the Bristol 10 metre line and their 22. 


Loose Ball

Tigers with the ball but it goes loose in a tackle and Bristol get a scrum on their 22. 


Tigers Ball

Tigers retain the ball from the lineout and work the phases in the Bristol 22. 

Tigers Replacement

Matt Smith replaces Manu Tuilagi. 


Tigers Ball

Tigers with the ball from the lineout and build phases into the Bristol half but Tigers win a penalty for a high tackle, Toomua kicking to touch for a lineout inside the Bristol 22.  


Running Rugby

Tigers kick for touch but the ball stays in play and Bristol run it back as both sides look to make a break but just as Bristol think they've broken through for another try, the referee calls us back for a penalty for Tigers. 

Tigers Replacements

Ben White replaces Ben Youngs

Bristol Replacements

Shaun Melton, Jake Woolmore and Callum Sheedy replace Harry Thacker, Yann Thomas and Siale Piutau. 



Just as Tigers are building in the Bristol 22 there's a penalty at the breakdown for Bristol, they look to tap and go getting into the Tigers half before Jonah Holmes makes a huge tackle and Tigers win a penalty. 


More loose play

Bristol turnover the ball but kick ahead and Tigers are back with the ball and run it back into the Bristol 22. 


Tigers Attack

Tigers with the ball, a kick across field puts Adam Thomstone in space and he offloads inside to Matt Toomua who is brought down in the Bristol 22. 


Turnover, Turnover

Bristol turnover the ball as Tigers get into the Bristol half but Tigers quickly turnover again and there's a break by Manu on the wing to put Tigers on the front foot. 


Tigers Ball

Bristol kick for the lineout but the ball doesn't find touch as Adam Thompstone keeps the ball in play and Tigers work the ball back up to the half-way. 


Bristol ball

Bristol retain the ball in the lineout and as they build a few phases win a penalty at the breakdown and kick for the lineout. 

Bristol replacement

John Afoa is replaced by Lewis Thiede. 


Tigers Ball

Tigers win the ball at the lineout and build phases, working across the pitch and up closer to the Bristol tryline but as we go for a long pass out to the wing the ball goes staight into touch for a Bristol lineout. 


Tigers Scrum

Tigers win a penalty at the scrum and kick for the lineout inside the Bristol 22. 

Bristol Replacement

Piers O'Conor replaces Will Hurrell. 


Double Knock-on

Loose ball at the restart and there is a knock-on from both sides but Tigers get the penalty outside the Bristol 22. 

Tigers Replacement

Matt Toomua is own and replaces George Ford. 

Bristol Penalty

Madigan lands the penalty to make it 41-10 after 58 minutes. 


Defensive Restart

Tigers with the restart but are having to defend as Bristol look to run out of their 22, they make it up to half-way before winning a penalty at the breakdown and they point to the posts. 

Bristol Replacements

Ed Holmes and Dan Thomas are on to replace Joe Joyce and George Smith. 

Bristol Penalty

Ian Madigan lands the penalty to make it 38-10 after 55 minutes. 

Tigers Replacement

Mike Fitzgerald replaces Mike Williams. 


Tigers Defence

Tigers look good in defence and look to have forced a knock-on from Bristol but the referee penalises Manu Tuilagi for a tackle off the ball and Bristol point to the posts. 


Bristol Scrum

Bristol win a penalty at the scrum and kick for the lineout on Tigers 10 metre line. 

Bristol Replacement

Harry Randall is replaced by Andy Uren. 

Tigers Replacements

Ficundo Gigena nad Gaston Cortez replace Ellis Genge and Dan Cole 


Tigers Ball

Tigers with the ball as Bristol try to offload in the tackle and build phases and make a break up into the Bristol 22 but there's a forward pass and Bristol have the scrum on their 22. 


What a Chase

There's another break from Bristol after the restart but George Ford shows his speed to work back and make the tackle and keep Bristol from scoring. 

Tigers Replacement

Tatafu Polota-Nau replaces Jake Kerr 

Bristol Conversion

Madigan adds the conversion to make it 33-10 after 50 minutes. 

Bristol Try

Bristol run the ball back and Jordan Crane is brought down just inside Tigers half, the referee blows for a penalty but Bristol go quick with Harry Randall running through to score. 


Lineout Ball

Tigers get the ball from the lineout and as the maul goes to ground the ball is chipped ahead and Bristol run it back. 


Side to Side

Bristol take the ball at the lineout but the ball goes from one side of the pitch to the other before going into touch and Tigers get the lineout just inside our half. 


Bristol Ball

Tigers chase the restart kick and make the tackle but are penalised in at the breakdown, Bristol kick for the lineout on their 22. 

Bristol Conversion

Madigan adds the conversion to extend Bristol's lead to 28-10 after 45 minutes. 

Bristol TRY

Tigers take the kick but the ball pops loose and Bristol pass it wide for Morahan on the wing to score. 



Tigers with the possession and phases but there's a loose ball in contact and Bristol have the ball, kicking ahead. 


Tigers Ball

Tigers with a lot of the ball from the restart, there's a few chip ahead kicks from both sides but Tigers have the ball and build phases up into the Bristol 22. 

Tigers Replacement

Half-time replacement as Harry Wells is now on for Graham Kitchener. 



The teams are back out and George Ford kicks-off the second-half. 


Bristol 21 Tigers 10 


Tigers Lineout

Tigers with the lineout collect the ball and kick it straight into touch for half-time. 

Bristol Replacement Reversal

John Afoa returns from the sin-bin and the replacement is reversed between Alapat Leiua and Lewis Thiede. 


Tigers clear

Tigers get a loose ball in the defence and Jonny May kicks clear up the pitch, Bristol run a few phases before kicking ahead for a lineout in the Tigers 22. 



Bristol run and kick ahead from the scrum and Jonah recovers the ball, kicking and chasing it down to keep Bristol in between half-way and our 22 with Tigers defence now being tested. 


Tigers Ball

Tigers with the ball as Bristol return the kick-off, with a few phases there is a chance of a break on the far side but the referee calls us back for a forward pass and Bristol have the scrum just inside their half. 


Missed Conversion

Ian Madigan misses the conversion so the score stays at 21-10 after 35 minutes. 

Bristol Try

Wayne Barnes checks with the TMO but awards the try to Harry Thacker after a break and offload from Steven Luatua. 


Quick Ball

There is quick play from the scrum and Bristol work up into Tigers half, there is break and they look to have scored but the referee goes to the TMO. 

Bristol Replacement

Lewis Thiede is on to replace Alapati Leiua for the scrum. 


Messy Restart

Tigers with the restart but there is a knock-on from both sides, Bristol get the scrum on their 10 metre line. 

Bristol Penalty

Ian Madigan lands the penalty to make it 16-10 after 32 minutes. 


Bristol Attack

Bristol are on the attack from the restart and with a lineout in Tigers half work into the Tigers 22 where they win a penalty at the breakdown as Tigers go for a turnover. Bristol opt for the kick at goal. 

Tigers Penalty

George Ford lands the penalty to make it 13-10 after 28 minutes. 

Yellow Card

As Tigers look to build phases Bristol's John Afoa is shown a yellow card for a high tackle and Tigers with a penalty point to the posts. 


Tigers Attack

Tigers with the restart and as Bristol kick clear, Ford collects the ball and offloads to Jonah Holmes who breaks through the Bristol defence.

Tigers show good hands with some offloads and work up into the Bristol half.

Bristol Penalty

Ian Madigan lands the penalty to make it 13-7 after 25 minutes. 

Red Card

The TMO has called the referee to check a tackle in the last play by Kyle Eastmond and the referee shows a red card and Bristol has the penalty, they point to the posts.



Quick Play

Bristol go wide from the lineout and in almost a replay of the last action the ball is kicked ahead and Tigers clear for a lineout on the Bristol 10 metre line. 


Your Ball, Our Ball

Tigers win a penalty at the scrum and kick for the lineout but doesn't find touch, Bristol run the ball back but there is a loose pass in the midfield and Manu scoops up the ball and Tigers are back on the attack in the Bristol half. 

As we build phases there is a knock-on from Tigers and Bristol pass wide, run it up and kick ahead, Tigers clear for the lineout on half-way. 


Lineout Steal

Tigers have the lineout but Bristol steal in the air and run it quickly, they work out to the far wing but there is a knock-on from Bristol as Tigers look to turnover the ball and Tigers get the scrum inside our 22. 


Good Restart

Tigers work well and clear from the restart but Bristol push through a kick into the 22 for a Tigers lineout. 

Tigers Conversion

George Ford adds the conversion to make it 10-7 after 17 minutes. 

Tigers Try

Tigers find a break as the ball is passed from the lineout, Adam Thompstone stepping into the defence before offloading in the tackle to Manu Tuilagi on the 22 line and he runs in to score Tigers first points of the afternoon. 


Good Defence

Tigers defence holds strong as Bristol look to run wide but are penalised at the breakdown and Tigers kick for the lineout on the Bristol 10 metre line. 


Tigers Phases

Tigers build phases from the scrum, including a chip ahead from Ben Youngs collected by Jonny May and work up to half-way but there is a knock-on on the floor and referee calls for a Bristol scrum. 


Tigers Restart

Tigers kick the restart and Bristol win a penalty at the breakdown, kicking for the lineout on half-way.

Bristol work the ball up to the Tigers 22 but Bristol knock-on for a Tigers scrum on the 22 line. 

Bristol Penalty

Ian Madigan lands the kick to make the score 10-0 after 9 minutes. 


Bristol Attack

Bristol work the ball from the lineout and make it back into the Tigers half, as they get up the 22 there is a penalty for a high tackle against Tigers and Bristol point to the posts for the kick. 


Tigers kick clear

Tigers with a good scrum and get the ball out to George Ford who makes a huge clearing kick for a lineout in the Bristol half. 


Bristol go wide

Bristol get the ball out wide to the wing where Luke Morahan chips the ball through but Bristol knock-on trying to collect the ball for a  Tigers scrum inside our 22. 


Tigers Scrum

Tigers win a free kick at the scrum and go quickly but there is a loose pass and the referee calls Tigers offside for a Bristol penalty. They kick for the lineout on their 10 metre line. 


Loose Ball

Tigers kick the restart and Bristol collect the ball but there is a loose pass out to the wing and Jonny May dives on the ball to get possession.

Tigers look to capitalise on the possession in the Bristol 22 and build phases out wide before a pass is knocked down by Bristol for a Tigers scrum. 

Bristol Conversion

Bristol add the conversion through Ian Madigan to make it 7-0 after 2 minutes. 

Bristol Try

Bristol go quick with the lineout and find a gap in the midfield defence, Alapati Leiua making a break and offloading to Harry Thacker who runs in to score the first points of the afternoon. 


Tigers Clear

Tigers take the kick-off and its Ben Youngs who clears to touch for the lineout. 

We have Kick-off

It is Bristol and Ian Madigan who kick things off this afternoon. 


Here come the teams

Adam Thompstone leads out the Tigers here at Ashton Gate for kick-off as he makes his 150th appearance for Tigers, go well Thommo! 


Players View

As we approach kick-off you can watch LTTV interviews with Jonny May, Matt Toomua, Dan Cole, George Ford and Ellis Genge as they preview the game here


Hello And Welcome

Tigers are in Bristol as we visit Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate in the Gallagher Premiership. 

Opposition Lineup

Starting XV

Charles Piutau
Luke Morahan
Will Hurrell
Alapati Leiua
Ian Madigan
Harry Randall
Yann Thomas
Harry Thacker
John Afoa
Joe Joyce
Steven Luatua
George Smith


Jake Woolmore
Lewis Thiede
Ed Holmes
Daniel Thomas
Andy Uren
Callum Sheedy
Piers O'Conor

Big-match preview| Bears versus Tigers

Ben Youngs returns to the venue of his Premiership debut more than a decade ago as Leicester Tigers travel to face Bristol this Saturday.

Old rivals Tigers and Bristol have met on 181 previous occasions, with Leicester 94-78 ahead on win count, though this is only the third time they have made the trip to Ashton Gate.

The most recent trip was a 21-16 victory in November 2016 when Ellis Genge and Adam Thompstone were the tryscorers, with the first outing at the home shared with Bristol City FC back in April 2007 when scrum-half Youngs made his league debut from the bench as a 17-year-old..

In team news announced on Friday, Youngs is among the international contigent back in Tigers colours following the end of the Test window, while Ellis Genge makes his first appearance of the season against his hometown club after recovering from a knee injury.

“It’s great to have the boys back, they’re back in their routine and back at home and they’re all raring to go again,” said interim head coach Geordan Murphy.

“We did some good things against Saracens last week but we were very disappointed not to go and win it. Bristol have been very strong at home, they play some good rugby, they attack from anywhere and they never say die.

“I thought our defence was a step in the right direction for large parts of the game against Saracens and we need more of that this week.”

Alapati Leiua returns from international duty with Samoa and is among nine changes in the Bristol line-up following defeat at Wasps last week. Former Tigers hooker Harry Thacker, who scored a hat-trick of tries at Wasps, and No8 Jordan Crane are included in the forward pack and there is another Leicester link with Will Hurrell at centre.

“We have to be prepared to bring real energy and physicality,” said Bears head coach Pat Lam. “It’s about individuals doing everything they can to step up against a Leicester team who could pose us many challenges.”

Tigers have won their last seven fixtures against Bristol since defeat in that April 2007 encounter when Youngs came off the bench late on in a midweek encounter played just three days after a European Cup semi-final win over the Scarlets.

Wayne Barnes, Premiership Rugby’s most experience official, is in charge on Saturday, in his 205th fixture in the competition.

Tigers will wear the club’s white and purple alternate kit at Ashton Gate. Kick-off is at 1.00pm.

Saturday’s game is not scheduled for live TV coverage. If you are not attending the game, you can keep up to date with all of the action using the Tigers Matchday Live service on the club website, mobile website and official app. Or follow the club’s social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Team news | Tigers at Bristol Bears

Leicester Tigers welcome Ellis Genge back from injury and include six returning internationals in the matchday squad for Saturday’s trip to face Bristol Bears in Round 9 of the Gallagher Premiership season.

Loosehead prop Genge is in line to make his first appearance of the season after recovering from a knee injury.

With club captain Tom Youngs ruled out by a knee injury, Genge joins Jake Kerr and Dan Cole in the Tigers front row.

England quartet Manu Tuilagi, Jonny May, George Ford and Ben Youngs return to the backline following their autumn international commitments, while Australian duo Tatafu Polota-Nau and Matt Toomua are included among the replacements for the game at Ashton Gate.

Adam Thompstone reaches 150 appearances for the club since joining Tigers in 2012 and Ford, who takes the captaincy this weekend, makes his 50th Premiership appearance for the club.

Geordan Murphy, the Tigers interim head coach, said: “Ellis Genge has been going well in training and you always want players like that in your squad.

“The internationals are happy to be back home and into their usual routine, and they will give us some fresh impetus at this point in the season.

“Tom Youngs has picked up an injury but Jake Kerr has been very good for us, he has a good engine, he’s hungry to improve and is learning all the time from the coaching team and the players around him.”

Leicester Tigers (v Bristol Bears, away, Saturday 1.00pm)

15 Jonah Holmes

14 Adam Thompstone

13 Manu Tuilagi

12 Kyle Eastmond

11 Jonny May

10 George Ford (c)

9 Ben Youngs

1 Ellis Genge

2 Jake Kerr

3 Dan Cole

4 Will Spencer

5 Graham Kitchener

6 Mike Williams

7 Brendon O’Connor

8 Sione Kalamafoni


16 Tatafu Polota-Nau

17 Facundo Gigena

18 Gaston Cortes

19 Harry Wells

20 Mike Fitzgerald

21 Ben White

22 Matt Toomua

23 Matt Smith

Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Will Hurrell, 12 Siale Piutau (co-capt), 11 Alapati Leiua, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Harry Randall; 1 Yann Thomas, 2 Harry Thacker, 3 John Afoa, 4 Joe Joyce, 5 Aly Muldowney, 6 Steve Luatua, 7 George Smith, 8 Jordan Crane (co-capt).
Replacements: 16 Shaun Malton, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Lewis Thiede, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Dan Thomas, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Callum Sheedy, 23 Piers O’Conor


posteamteam namepldwdlfadifftftatblbpts
Bristol Bears
Bristol BearsBRI229112503580-7755746751
Leicester Tigers
Leicester TigersLEI227015478632-15447815841
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Leicester Tigers10
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