Rugby Union: Barrow leads Tiger tamers

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The Independent Online
Bristol. . . . .15

Leicester. . . .10

LEICESTER will want to forget this match as quickly as possible. It was their third Courage League defeat of the season and having one game more than Bath and Wasps they have little, if any, chance of finishing better than third in the table.

Still, one man's meat is another man's poison and Bristol's surprisingly comprehensive win was memorable for any number of reasons. It may have confirmed their status as mid-table plodders but the way they out-performed Leicester was anything but plodding.

Bristol intimidated Leicester's forwards and harassed their backs. Even when their tighthead prop Paul Guttridge was sent off for whacking Adel Kardooni (there was a fiery undertone present all afternoon), Bristol survived for more than quarter of the game with a lock, Simon Shaw, playing at prop - and a 6ft 9in lock at that.

It was no ordinary game. This was clear from the moment Craig Barrow scored an unusual try in the third minute. Jez Harris, Leicester's fly-half, hoisted a Garryowen but it turned out to be anything but a means of attack. The wind got the ball and blew it back over his head so that it bounced on the half-way line behind most of the Leicester team. Barrow grabbed it and raced down the touchline to score.

Barrow is a Leicester lad who started rugby aged six with South Leicester RFC. Leicester wish he had stayed there. With his height (6ft) and his speed he was a thorn in their side. So too, were Andy Blackmore, Shaw, the giant second row, and Mark Regan, their combative hooker. Once Neil Back had gone off in the 21st minute with a shoulder injury, Leicester had trouble winning the ball and they became increasingly frustrated. In an ill-tempered game they gave away far too many penalties.

Bristol led 11-3 at half-time when they had had the wind. They could have been further ahead. Even with 14 men they looked convincing, strong in defence, bristling with pace, eager to attack. On this performance the Tigers were well and truly caged.

Bristol: K Hull; D John, R Knibbs, W Waghorn, K Morgan; M Tainton, K Bracken; D Hinkins, M Regan, P Guttridge, S Shaw, A Blackmore, I Patten, D Eves (capt), C Barrow

Leicester: J Liley; S Hackney, I Bates, S Potter, R Underwood; J Harris, A Kardooni; G Rowntree, R Cockerill, D Garforth, M Johnson, P Grant, J Wells (capt), N Back (S Povoas, 21 min), D Richards.

Referee: C High (Manchester Society).

Scores: Barrow/Tainton (try/conv, 3 min, 7-0); Liley (pen, 22 min, 7-3); Tainton (pen, 38 min, 10-3); Bracken (try, 71 min 15-3); Kardooni/Liley (try/conv, 78 min, 15-10).

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