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European rugby returns to Ashton Gate as Bristol host Zebre

Thursday 11th October 2018

11:51 am (GMT)

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European rugby returns to Ashton Gate as Bristol host Zebre

Bristol Bears director of rugby Pat Lam won the European Cup with Northampton Saints in 2000.

Bristol Bears return to the competition after a one-year absence and welcome Italian side Zebre Rugby to Ashton Gate on Saturday (15:00 BST) in their Pool 4 fixture.

  • Bristol and Zebre have never faced each other before, although the Bears have won eight of eight previous games against Italian opponents.
  • Bristol’s last game against an Italian side saw them record their biggest ever European victory (89-5 v Viadana. December 2005).
  • Zebre have lost seven of their nine away games in the Challenge Cup, however, one of their two wins in that time did come against Premiership opposition (v Worcester Warriors,January 2016).
  • Zebre successfully landed 88% of their kicks at goal last season,the best rate of any side in the Challenge Cup.
  • The top turnover winner in last season’s Challenge Cup was a Zebre player,Derick Minnie, who won 13 turnovers overall, two more than anyone else.

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Bristol make dream return to Europe

Saturday 13th October 2018

6:50 pm (GMT)

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Bristol make dream return to Europe

Callum Sheedy, who kicked three conversions for Bristol Bears on Saturday

Bristol Bears could not have wished for a better return to the European Rugby Challenge Cup on Saturday, when they racked up seven tries in drubbing Zebre Rugby Club 43-22 at Ashton Gate.

The Bears made it nine wins from nine European games against Italian clubs by opening up a 36-10 interval lead in the Pool 4 tie, which Zebre never looked like overhauling, despite winning the second period.

Right wing Ryan Edwards fronted the six-try, first-half romp with a double and was joined on the scoresheet by wing Alapati Leiua, lock Joe Latta, No.8 Nick Haining and prop Jake Armstrong, with fly-half Callum Sheedy converting three.

Zebre’s response came via a try from prop Eduardo Bello, which was converted by fly-half Francois Brummer, who also kicked a penalty.

Visiting skipper and centre Tommaso Castello cut the deficit further with a try improved by Brummer, but the Bears dashed Zebre’s hopes of a significant comeback with Andy Uren’s 62nd minute score improved by Sam Bedlow.

There was just time for Tommaso Boni to notch a third try for Zebre, but it was too little too late.

The win was particularly memorable for Bristol lock Joe Batley, who was making his first appearance for the club since recovering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Zebre will have immediate chance of revenge as they host the English club next Saturday.

 

 

 

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