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Premiership: Bristol Bears beat Harlequins for third successive league win

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Harlequins v Bristol Bears
Bristol Bears and Harlequins both went into their meeting having won two and lost one in the Premiership
Harlequins (9) 19
Try: Smith Con: Smith Pens: Smith 4
Bristol Bears (5) 27
Tries: Thomas, Luatua, Randall, Adeolokun Cons: Sheedy 2 Pen: Sheedy

Bristol Bears fought back to record their first Premiership win at Harlequins since 2001.

Quins soaked up plenty of first-half pressure and countered with three Marcus Smith penalties, before Bristol responded through Dan Thomas’ try.

Steve Luatua then crashed over from four yards to put Bears 12-9 up.

Scrum-half Harry Randall darted over and Niyi Adeolokun raced away for the bonus point, before Smith claimed a consolation score.

Quins, who conceded 70 points in successive European Champions Cup defeats by Munster and Racing 92, saw little of the ball in a frantic first half-hour, but repelled the pressure, with Nathan Hughes held up over the line, and were clinical when chances came their way via Smith’s boot.

Stray passes and poor handling often undid much of Bristol’s good work in the first half, Semi Radradra spurning a golden chance – on his first appearance of the season – when knocking on from Ioan Lloyd’s fine break and offload.

But, after Wilco Louw was denied his first Quins try when his close-range effort was ruled out by the video referee, the Bears registered the opening try, fittingly against the run of play, as Thomas raced away to cross in the corner just before the break.

Heartened by the score, Bears found their missing cutting edge after the break, with Randall twice showing quick thought and action with his tap-penalty to tee up Luatua’s score and then in his finish following Hughes’ break.

Bristol’s sustained assault on the Quins line was held up, but then came the clinching try, with Randall again involved, as Luatua’s improvised pop pass sent Adeolokun racing away to confirm a third win from four in the Premiership.

Smith completed his good day on a personal level when he stepped through the Bristol defence for a last-gasp score, but it was too little, too late to avoid a third successive defeat for Quins in all competitions.

Harlequins: Brown; Lynagh, Lang, Tapuai, R Chisholm; Smith, Care; Els, Baldwin, Louw, Lamb, Young, J Chisholm, Evans, Dombrandt (capt).

Replacements: Elia, Garcia Botta, Kerrod, Tizard, Lawday, Landajo, Anyanwu, Green.

Bristol Bears: Malins; Naulago, Radradra, O’Conor, Lloyd; Sheedy, Randall; Thomas, Capon, Afoa, Attwood, Holmes, Luatua (capt), Thomas, Hughes.

Replacements: Byrne, Woolmore, Lahiff, Joyce, Heenan, Uren, Leiua, Adeolokun.

About Frank Rideout