Title-chasing Bristol were in their element on Tuesday night at Ashton Gate, putting seven tries on an inexperienced Northampton to lift them into second place in the Gallagher Premiership ahead of the round’s remaining five matches on Wednesday evening. 

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The Bears scored some lovely tries but the pick of the bunch was the team effort finished off by Piers O’Conor on 66 minutes, the third in a four-try burst in a nine-minute second-half spell which pushed the winning margin out to 47-10. 

After Callum Sheedy had just landed the conversion of Ben Earl’s try, Bristol lined up to receive the restart kick and what unfolded was delicious, seven different players handling (one player twice) and seven passes being seamlessly executed in the single-phase play which enabled Pat Lam’s side to go nearly the whole length of the Premiership pitch.

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Ireland 7s player and Love Island contestant Greg O’Shea guests on All Access, the Rugby Pass interview series hosted by Jim Hamilton

With the ball dropping from the skies on the 22-metre line, it deflected into Earl’s hands and he quickly flashed a pass away left to Sheedy, who just as quickly transferred the ball to his left to Daniel Thomas. 

Now deep in his 22, the replacement back row briefly embarked on a straight run before finding Semi Radradra to his left who passed to Alapati Leiua. The winger checked inside from the touchline crossing the 22 before passing to the supporting Thomas.    

The forward carried the ball on and at the ten-metre line, he passed to Chris Cook, who then found O’Conor on halfway. The centre pinned back his ears to pace clear outside James Grayson and from there he had a straight run to the line. 

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“Total rugby. Total rugby,” enthused Ugo Monye, the 2009 British and Irish Lion who was on punditry duty for live broadcaster BT Sport. “They just travelled up the pitch, 90 metres, not a single phase.”

Lawrence Dallaglio added: The awareness of where the men are, where the space is. The switch looks good as well, just lovely work down the channel.”

  

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