Rampaging Semi Radradra announces himself to the Premiership as Bristol punish Gloucester
Bristol boss Pat Lam is ready for “a huge challenge” when his Gallagher Premiership title hopefuls tackle league leaders Exeter on Tuesday.
The Ashton Gate showdown could prove to be a dress rehearsal for October’s Premiership final, such is the form of both teams.
The box-office Fijian centre scored a try and made two others during a first-half Bristol onslaught that saw them claim four touchdowns in 23 minutes.
“Exeter are the flag-bearers at the moment,” Bristol rugby director Lam said.
“It is great that we are going up against them, and it is going to be full-on on Tuesday, I would say.
“You need to be an 80-minute team – that’s what it takes. You are going to be mentally and physically challenged for the full 80-plus minutes, and Exeter is a huge challenge.”
Gloucester tried to cling on through tries by prop Fraser Balmain and centre Chris Harris, while Billy Twelvetrees kicked two conversions and a penalty, before Danny Cipriani converted Stephen Varney’s late touchdown.
Lam, though, was not completely satisfied with his team’s performance.
“Yes, we are happy, but at 19-0 up we conceded some sloppy yardage and they got in with a soft score,” he said.
“We talked about tidying things up, but we kept taking the pressure off Gloucester through some messy rugby.”
Lam and Gloucester head coach George Skivington were both in admiration of Radradra’s display on only his second appearance since arriving from French Top 14 club Bordeaux-Begles.
Skivington said: “He is pretty special, isn’t he? There were two or three showings of what he’s made of. He is an outstanding player.”
On Gloucester’s display, Skivington added: “We were a little bit slow getting into the game, and Bristol weren’t.
“Before we knew it we had a mountain to climb against one of the best teams in the league.
“We started slowly and felt our way into it too much, but the fighting spirit was pleasing. We kept trying to play, and we certainly didn’t throw the towel in.”
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