Wednesday, March 29, 2023 | Disjointed South Africa A embarrassed by Bristol Bears | Disjointed South Africa A embarrassed by Bristol Bears




Bristol winger Gabriel Ibitoye. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Bristol winger Gabriel Ibitoye. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

English club Bristol Bears floored a disjointed South Africa A side at a packed Ashton Gate Stadium on Thursday night.

Bristol won 26-18, after leading 13-6 at the break.

AS IT HAPPENED | SA A v Bristol Bears

Tries from winger Gabriel Ibitoye and prop Yann Thomas sealed a memorable win for Pat Lam’s charges in front of a record crowd of 26 387 supporters, while the flawless boot of flyhalf Callum Sheedy added 16 points from the tee.

It was a fully deserved win for Bristol, who were far more clinical than the SA A side.

As was the case in a 28-14 defeat to Munster last week, SA A played like a disjointed team. They made too many basic errors and their discipline and execution left much to be desired.

In fact, it was nothing short of a horror show by the tourists against a team lying 10th on the English Premiership standings.

The Bok hopefuls had started brightly, opening the scoring through the boot of flyhalf Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu – but when lock Jason Jenkins was sin-binned for a high shot on Bristol No 8 Harding, Sheedy levelled matters with a simple penalty.

Feinberg-Mngomezulu edged the tourists back in front before a powerful burst from Bristol lock Joe Batley gave Sheedy the platform to make it all square again.

Then came the game’s opening try, sparked by a run from Bristol fullback Luke Morahan, who offloaded to his inside to the supporting Ibitoye, whose maiden try in Bears colours raised the roof at an electric Ashton Gate Stadium.

In the second half, SA A prop Ntuthuko Mchunu powered over from close range to reduce the score to 13-11.

But after Feinberg-Mngomezulu missed the easy conversion attempt, the visitors fell away badly.

Sheedy’s long-range penalty – his third of the evening – edged the Bears into a five-point lead at 16-11.

When Feinberg-Mngomezulu missed touch from an attempted clearance, Morahan and Ibitoye combined to dent holes in the SA A defence, and after relentless pressure, Thomas barged over.

Sheedy converted the try, before replacement loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe pounced on a loose ball to give SA A a late consolation try.


SA A 18 (6)

Try: Ntuthuko Mchunu, Sikhumbuzo Notshe

Conversion: Johan Goosen

Penalty: Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu (2)

Bristol Bears 26 (13)

Tries: Gabriel Ibitoye, Yann Thomas

Conversions: Callum Sheedy (2)

Penalty: Sheedy (4)

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