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'We got killed by the referee' - Lam reacts to Bristol's latest home loss

By PA
Callum Sheedy of Bristol Bears shouts instructions to their teammates during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Bristol Bears and Saracens at Ashton Gate on November 05, 2022 in Bristol, England. (Photo by Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images)

Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam believes his side paid the price for a lack of discipline as they slumped to a 25-10 defeat to Gallagher Premiership leaders Saracens at a wet Ashton Gate.

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After a well-contested but scoreless first 30 minutes, Matt Malins, who will return to Bristol next season, got Saracens up and running with the best individual play of the match when he chipped the ball over the home defence to collect and score.

It was the visitors’ only try of the night but scrappy play from Bristol allowed Alex Goode to kick 20 points and maintain the Londoners’ unbeaten start to the season with an eighth successive win.

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Bristol outscored their opponents in terms of tries, with replacements Harry Thacker and Jonathan Benz-Solomon crashing over from close range in the second half, but it was not enough to prevent a fifth league defeat in a row.

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Lam said: “The try from Max turned the game against us as scoring in those conditions was difficult.

“We got killed by the referee. I think the penalty count was 15-5 and unfortunately the discipline cost us with Goode kicking all those penalties.

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“Once they got ahead you are chasing the game and we’ll have to go back and look at some of the calls.

“The boys have come off frustrated but Sarries are a very good side and it’s very difficult to play against them.

“We were missing a lot of quality but I was pleased with the young guys who came in to replace them so there were some positives from the contest.”

Once Malins had scored, Saracens increased their control over the game, with their pack winning a number of penalties in the scrums and at the breakdown.

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Their lock Callum Hunter-Hill said: “If you were a spectator then I expect you thought that the game wasn’t very pretty.

“The weather was tough as it was really miserable out there and a bit of a culture-shock as we expected it to clear up.

“It was still hammering down when we went out and they kept us waiting in the rain for the kick-off, which didn’t help.

“However I thought we were pretty dominant throughout with our front-row really stepping up to the mark for us, and they won us the game.”

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