Bristol’s first finals appearance in the Premiership since 2007  has come to a somewhat disappointing end, with Wasps running out to a 47-24 win in Coventry.


The final margin was probably not an overall fair reflection of the match, with the home side scoring some opportunistic tries despite being under the pump for lengthy periods of play.

While there should be no doubt that the victors were the better team on the day, playing more suitable knockout rugby and making the most of their comparatively limited territory and possession, Bristol fans were understandably aggrieved at the standard of officiating throughout the match.

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Referee Matt Carly was fairly lenient when it came to policing the offside line, which hampered the Bears’ running game, but it was one particular decision early in the final quarter of the match that really had Bristol supported up in arms.

At the 60 minute mark, both teams had managed two tries – Malakai Fekito and man of the match Jack Willis for Wasps, and Luke Morahan and Harry Randall for Bristol. The home side had pulled ahead to a 26-12 lead, however, on the back of some expert goal-kicking from Kiwi import Jimmy Gopperth.

Wasps were pressing hard on Bristol’s line, looking to make the fatal blow, and were awarded a penalty. While Carly explained the penalty to the Bears, Wasps halfback Dan Robson took a quick tap behind the referee’s back and darted over the line for a try.


Despite the fact that the tap was taken well away from the mark and that the Bristol players were occupied by Carly’s lengthy explanation, the try stood, and Gopperth’s conversion took Wasps 21 points clear.

With the game all but out of reach, the Bears started pushing passes and playing helter-skelter rugby – which only made things easier for Wasps.

Bristol fans were devastated at Carly’s decision to award the try – as well as a number of other 50/50 calls that seemingly fell the way of the home side. They took to Twitter to vent their frustrations.


Wasps scored two further tries to balloon the score out to 47-12 – both excellent long-range efforts – before Bristol fought back late in the game with two tries of their own.

Despite the loss, Bristol still have a chance at silverware this season, with the European Challenge Cup on the line next weekend. Wasps, meanwhile, will play Exeter in the Premiership final in two weeks’ time.

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