Bristol kept the pressure on Leeds for the fourth and final Championship play-off spot by beating Plymouth Albion 34-20 at the Memorial Stadium yesterday, scoring five tries in the process. But they also shipped three – including two during the final minutes of the first half.
Coach Nat Saumi has named exactly the same starting 15 and seven replacements for Sunday’s game against Bristol at the Memorial Stadium.
Before kickoff Toby Berridge was pulled out of the team because of illness so Paul Bailey moved to 13 and Louis Messer was brought into the match day 22
That also means players like Rupeni Nasiga, Harrison Tovey, Keni Fisilau and Wayne Sprangle missed out again.
After leading 17-0, Bristol’s advantage at the break was cut to 17-12, but they rallied again in the second half, with tries from Mariano Sambucetti and George Watkins being added to those scored by Jon Goodridge, James Merriman and Marco Mama before the break.
This Bristol team, as they showed in running in five tries against Plymouth, can attack with zest and dynamism; they can play some mesmerising rugby. But, in the chances they spurned and the way they allowed Albion back into the game shortly before half-time, they have obvious room for improvement.
Aaron Caroenter went over for the first try in the right hand corner as Albion opted for the lineout instead of the three points, MaCtee then scored under the posts to claim Albion’s second try for Cusack to convert.
Plymouth continued to ask questions of their hosts, with Tom Bowen grabbing a late score, which may not have changed anything in the context of the match, but still had Robinson ruing the fact his team had shipped 20 points.
Albion will have been disappointed to let in two tries early doors; however the team showed spirit to score two tires while having only 14 players on the pitch as Lloyd Fairbrother was shown a yellow card for a professional foul. Bristol showed their strength in depth by pulling away in the second period.
Albion now has a week off from rugby, their next game is at home against Newcastle of Friday 13th April, tickets are still available but selling out fast via the ticket office.
Bristol: Jon Goodridge; Jack Tovey, Luke Eves, Ben Mosses, Ryan Edwards; Adrian Jarvis, Ruki Tipuna; Mark Lilley, Rhys Lawrence, Gaston Cortes, Mariano Sambucetti, Glen Townson, Iain Grieve (c), James Merriman, Marco Mama.
Replacements: Tom Channon, Bruce Douglas, Roy Winters, Mitch Eadie, Callum Braley, Tristan Roberts, George Watkins
Plymouth Albion: R McAtee (P Roberts 41); L Warner, P Bailey, B Armitage (L Messer 80), T Bowen; D Cusack, R Cushion (capt; P Rowley 75); B Rogers (D Morton 62), J Vickers (T Cowan-Dickie 60), L Fairbrother, B Beukeboom, S-M Stephen (I Ashcroft-Leigh 66), H Stupple (S Hocking 66), S Matavesi, A Carpenter.
Scorers: Tries – Carpenter, McAtee, Bowen. Con – Cusack. Pen – Cusack.
Sin-binned: Fairbrother (34-41, tackling player when not 10m at free-kick).
Referee: L Pearce (RFU).