Watch: Radradra scores late try as Bristol nab Champions Cup win at Sale
Bristol took their first step towards the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals after Semi Radradra’s late try earned them a narrow 10-9 comeback victory over Sale in the first leg of their last-16 clash.
The Fiji flyer’s introduction from the bench sparked his side into life after a poor first half – where neither side dominated – and his superb bust through midfield to score proved decisive.
Callum Sheedy scored a penalty and conversion from the tee, while Rob Du Preez scored all of the Sharks’ points with three penalties.
Alex Sanderson gave Manu Tuilagi a first start since February, with the centre continuing his return from a hamstring problem.
Bristol made 10 changes from last week’s defeat at Northampton, including a return for Nathan Hughes after a loan spell at Bath.
However, Pat Lam elected to leave stars Radradra and Charles Piutau on the bench, with the pair being introduced after the break.
Neither side asserted sustained dominance in a scrappy first half, but some robust defence and breakdown pressure earned the hosts two early penalties, which Du Preez calmly slotted to build a 6-0 lead.
Handling errors and inaccuracies plagued both teams as patchy rain showers created a greasy ball.
Bristol replied via a Sheedy penalty, reducing the deficit to 6-3 at half-time, as try-scoring opportunities were limited.
After the break it was more of the same as early pressure from Bristol was relieved by a Sale turnover deep in their own 22.
A stolen Bristol lineout gave the hosts a chance to build and a powerful carry from Akker Van Der Merwe took them up to the Bristol line, but the Bears scrambled well to hold Sale up.
Tempers began to flare as frustrations boiled over in the second half and both coaches rung the changes in an attempt to sharpen up their sides.
Du Preez missed a long-range kick, but Sale continued to build pressure with a series of penalties keeping the Bears camped in their own half.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 9, 2022
They were unable to turn this pressure into points, however, as a knock-on in Bristol territory gave possession back to the visitors.
Not long after coming on, it was Radradra who created the game-winning moment, slicing through midfield before stepping his way under the posts. Sheedy added the extras to put his side ahead for the first time in the match.
Du Preez narrowed the gap to a single point with another penalty, but Bristol hung on to claim a gutsy 10-9 win that puts them in the driving seat for the return fixture.
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