Challenge Cup final winners Bristol couldn’t have dreamt up a better start to their decider against Toulon than Semi Radradra producing some magic to create a try that was scored after just 15 record-breaking seconds at Aix-en-Provence.
The Bears won the final on a 32-19 scoreline at Stade Maurice-David after they produced an unstoppable second-half surge to turn around a 19-13 deficit with 52 minutes gone in their first-ever European showpiece.
Some wonderful pace from the try-scoring Max Malins and the precise kicking boot of Callum Sheedy were pivotal to that successful comeback, but there was no getting away from the wow factor that Bristol had produced right from the kick-off when scoring the quickest try in European rugby history.
Radradra gathered the Toulon kick in the 22 and the Fijian centre attracted the attention of three players as he looked inside and ran towards the left touchline, pulling Bryce Heem in off his wing.
A brilliant pass out of contact to wing Alapati Leiua allowed the Samoan to race up the touchline to halfway before transferring back inside to the supporting Radradra. He then gave scrum-half Harry Randall the assist to allow him to scamper 40 metres to the line to open the scoring.
OH MY WORD! That is how you start a European final @BristolBears ?
DO NOT kick the ball to Semi Radradra, you have been warned!
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) October 16, 2020
The response the try ignited on Twitter was in keeping with the praise continuously heaped on Radradra ever since he made his summer move from Bordeaux and made a Bristol debut in August.
Radradra continued to be a major influence in the final, nearly having a second try assist to his name in the first half but for a forward pass ruling out a score for Joe Joyce.
The Fijian’s night didn’t end on the pitch, though. He missed the closing stages with a leg injury that rugby fans will hope won’t prevent him from starring for Fiji in next month’s Autumn Nations Cup.
Feels like a real privilege to be watching Semi Radradra play every week.
Not often you get to witness players at 100% peak.
He's making the game look simple.
Like all the greats do.
— Paul Williams (@thepaulwilliams) October 16, 2020
— Edward Barker (@EdwardB24376757) October 16, 2020
— Jordan Welsh (@jordanwelsh4) October 16, 2020
— Daniel Tomlinson (@DCTommo89uk) October 16, 2020
A rose between two thorns ? pic.twitter.com/FkWyhkAWgO
— semi Radradra (@radradra_semi) October 16, 2020
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