Some young Englishmen may be dreaming of a white Christmas, or of inclusion in the Six Nations Championship the name of the Wasps fly-half Danny Cipriani keeps cropping up in this regard or even perhaps of the World Cup four years hence. The Bristol brothers Arscott, Luke and Tom, were just happy to have got to the end of a match together. That they did so scoring three tries against the European champions was a welcome bonus.
Tom, 20, kick-started the Devonian family affair, watched by mum and dad Rosalie and Phil, with a pair of first-half tries which demonstrated aggression, pace and an adventurous nature. Luke, 23, finished off a series of rucks by running through a fractured Wasps defence in the 49th minute.
"We've started a few games but this is the first home game we've finished together and to both score was good," Tom said. "Luke is slightly more skilful than I am and I enjoy the open spaces more than he does. So we work well with each other and it would be good now to string a few more games together."
Tom was schooled in the game at Devonport Services before following Luke from Plymouth Albion to Bristol last summer but for various reasons selection, age, injury they had been on the field at the final whistle before only in two away fixtures. Tom played alongside Cipriani for England's Under-19s against Australian Schools two seasons ago. Only Cipriani will know what he was up to when he planted a kiss on the cheek of his one-time team-mate after Wasps earned a dubious penalty try with 15 minutes left.
But it was indicative of a gloriously edgy and niggly encounter. The younger Arscott swaggered through a couple of dust-ups with Josh Lewsey and lost nothing by comparison with Wasps' other England wing, Paul Sackey.
"There's a bit of confidence in this team," Tom said. "The coaches are happy for us to throw it around as long as we look after the ball." He had missed five weeks with swelling around a bone in the left ankle sustained early in the Heineken Cup win over Stade Franais. The return fixture in Paris dominates Bristol's new year schedule but they have Premiership fixtures away to Gloucester and home to Saracens before then.
The coaches were polarised over the penalty try which put Wasps ahead, 23-20, before Ed Barnes' equalising penalty. The New Zealand-born referee Andrew Small decided a scrum collapse by the home front row had "prevented a try that would probably otherwise have been scored", as Law 10 demands. Small must have been hugely confident of Wasps' abilities, as the protracted build-up included a brief loss of possession and a tap-and-go by their captain, Eoin Reddan, which was held up.
Perhaps Small was swayed by Bristol sending on a new tight head as the siege developed. Thank goodness most of it was beyond the remit of the television match official, or they would still have been there on Boxing Day.
Bristol: Tries T Arscott 2, L Arscott; Conversion Strange; Penalties Strange, Barnes. Wasps: Tries Reddan, penalty try; Conversions Cipriani 2; Penalties Cipriani 3.
Bristol: L Arscott; T Arscott, R Higgitt, N Brew, A Elliott; J Strange (E Barnes, 44), B O'Riordan (H Thomas, 72); A Clarke, M Regan, J Hobson (D Crompton, 54), R Winters, S Hohneck, M Salter (capt), A To'oala, A Blowers (J El Abd, 54).
Wasps: M van Gisbergen (T Voyce, 51); P Sackey, F Waters, R Flutey, J Lewsey; D Cipriani, E Reddan (capt); T Payne, R Webber (J Ward, 51), N Adams (T French, 51), S Shaw, R Birkett (J Haskell, 60), D Leo (T Palmer, 51), T Rees, J Hart.
Referee: A Small (London).Reuse content