Bristol boss Pat Lam struggled to suppress his anger after star player Semi Radradra took “a big forearm to his face” during Friday night’s Gallagher Premiership clash against Worcester. 

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The Bristol rugby director lamented rugby union’s “cheap shots” following the second-half incident that left Radradra requiring treatment. And it was television match official Geoff Warren who bore the brunt of Lam’s annoyance following a 36-13 win at Sixways.

“Semi is a big player for us, and those sort of cheap shots, it (could have been) an HIA (head injury assessment), he is out of the next game and everyone gets affected by it,” Lam said.

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“It shouldn’t be going on in our game. Hopefully, they [officials] can learn from that too, particularly the TMO. When we got to 22-3 ahead, I was gutted we had a try disallowed in the corner.

“I can’t understand all the interrogation and going through every part of that try, yet Semi Radradra gets a big forearm to his face and they don’t even look at it. I’m not talking about Wayne (match referee Wayne Barnes), I’m talking about the TMO. And there were a few other things that weren’t picked up as well.

“It’s all very well looking at no tries, but you have got to look at the safety of some of the players. That was frustrating. Semi doesn’t go down. He is a tough man. I saw what happened, and I’m just amazed the TMO didn’t pick it up. We saw it clearly on the footage. Wayne didn’t get the close-up shot, so he had to make the call from a wide one.”

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Bristol reclaimed second place in the Premiership and moved three points above Sale Sharks to lead the chasing play-off pack behind runaway leaders Exeter. It was the raw power and creative flair of Fijian Radradra that did for Worcester as Bristol scored tries through his midfield partner Siale Piutau, lock Ed Holmes, flanker Dan Thomas, scrum-half Andy Uren and back-row substitute Ben Earl.

Fly-half Callum Sheedy added a penalty and four conversions, but Worcester – 21 points behind Bristol before kick-off – gave their opponents a scare and led at half-time after full-back Melani Nanai’s try, plus two penalties and a conversion from Scotland international Duncan Weir.

Both teams finished with 14 men after Warriors’ replacement lock Andrew Kitchener was sent off for punching Siale Piutau, who received a yellow card following the 79th-minute incident.

Lam said: “Semi can make things out of nothing. He was on fire tonight. He has been waiting for a nice dry day. He showed what he can do. I’m pleased we got the five points. The second half was a lot better, but our discipline was poor again – we are now averaging (conceding) 17 penalties a game.

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“We know we can score from anywhere, but we also know if we are not on it, we can concede from anywhere as well. A lot of that is because we don’t control the ball as well as we could.”

Reflecting on Worcester’s 13th league defeat of the season, Warriors rugby director Alan Solomons offered no excuses. “The first half, I thought we played really well. We had a number of try-scoring opportunities,” he said.

“But the second half, we came out and turned over a plethora of ball and we ended up tackling the whole of the half. We couldn’t build any pressure. Full marks to Bristol, they deserved their win, but I think we made a rod for our own back with what we did.”

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