Rugby Union: Bristol have fun and spoil the party: Gloucester denied by inspired Bracken in National Tens final

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The Independent Online
THE joke going the rounds here was that Gloucester, who have been known to favour 10-man rugby, found their niche in life with the introduction of the Worthington National Tens on their own patch. In which case Bristol, their West Country neighbours and intense rivals, had the last laugh yesterday.

Three short of an eight pack up front and two light in the backs, the 10-a-side game is fun to play and certainly fun to watch. The holders, though, were not smiling by the finish as Bristol ran away with the final by scoring three second-half tries to win 26-5.

Every entrant receives pounds 1,500 (the finalists received pounds 6,000 each), something of a softener for Melrose. The first Scottish side to make an appearance at Kingsholm, they failed to go beyond their opening match when Orrell beat them 17-12.

'The problem for some of the lads,' Jeff Probyn said, 'was that they get caught between the devil and the deep blue sea in this version of the game.' The England prop, who was on the bench for Wasps, also felt the competition should be played at the start of the season.

The stars of this show were the England scrum-half Kyran Bracken and David John, the wing from Trinidad. Bracken slipped into the Bristol side at the semi-final stage and helped to oust Wakefield with two tries, the second a 75-yard stunner.

John also showed a clean pair of heels as befits a 10.6sec man for the 100 yards. With the scores level at the break against Gloucester, he ran in his eighth try of the tournament and, when Bracken followed him home, Gloucester's hopes of keeping the title disappeared with the setting sun.