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Mike Brown red proves costly as Bristol stun Leicester at the death

By PA
Ellis Genge of Bristol Bears runs with the ball during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Leicester Tigers and Bristol Bears at Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium on April 27, 2024 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Graham Chadwick/Getty Images) (Photo by Graham Chadwick/Getty Images)

Magnus Bradbury scored a last-gasp try as Bristol completed an amazing comeback with a 21-19 Gallagher Premiership victory at Leicester to take a big step towards qualifying for the play-offs.

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The Bears trailed 19-0 at Mattioli Woods Welford Road with 10 minutes remaining, with Ollie Hassell-Collins scoring two of Leicester’s three tries that looked set to keep their flickering top-four hopes alive.

But either side of a red card to the Leicester’s Mike Brown, Max Lahiff pulled back two scores for Bristol, who then provided one last twist to keep themselves fourth in the table, ahead of Harlequins on points difference.

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Bristol were forced into a late change as Rich Lane came in for Max Malins at full-back and Piers O’Conor stepping up among the replacements.

The visitors conceded a stream of early penalties, with Gabriel Ibitoye paying the price for his side’s indiscipline as he was sent to the sin bin in the 16th minute and it was not long until Leicester finally struck.

Match Summary

0
Penalty Goals
0
3
Tries
3
2
Conversions
3
0
Drop Goals
0
123
Carries
156
4
Line Breaks
6
15
Turnovers Lost
22
4
Turnovers Won
4

From a ruck, Jack Van Poortvliet fed Dan Kelly, whose long pass picked out Hassell-Collins in space to finish down the left, with Handre Pollard converting from out wide.

The hosts then lost their one-man advantage as Mike Brown was shown a yellow card by referee Matt Carley for some backchat after the hosts had been penalised.

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Bristol thought they had struck back when hooker Gabriel Oghre scampered the ball clear following a short line-out, but the score was disallowed due to Ellis Genge’s return pass travelling forward.

This allowed Leicester to retain their 7-0 lead into half-time, with the hosts being denied soon after the restart when a good tackle by Joe Batley dislodged the ball from the hands of the charging Jasper Wiese.

But the Tigers scored their second try in the 48th minute as the ball went through Kelly and Pollard’s hands before Freddie Steward’s pass put Hassell-Collins in at the corner again.

The hosts looked to have the result wrapped up after 65 minutes when replacement prop Francois Van Wyk managed to force his way over from close range, with Pollard’s conversion taking the gap to 19-0.

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But Bristol finally got themselves on the board when Lahiff managed to barge his way through Leicester’s defence, which had been resolute to that point.

The hosts were then down to 14 men when Brown was sent off for a second yellow card following a head-on-head collision with Benhard Janse Van Rensburg.

The Bears then ensured a big finish when Lahiff managed to force his way over again with five minutes left, Alan MacGinty’s conversion reducing the deficit to five points.

Incredibly, the visitors snatched victory off the final play as Bradbury just about managed to get the ball down near the posts, with MacGinty’s conversion completing a startling turnaround.

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