Pirates plunder Bristol in play-offs

Bristol's hopes of promotion to the Aviva Premiership took a hit when they were beaten 45-24 by the Cornish Pirates yesterday.

Bristol's James Merriman and Will Helu scored first-half tries at the Mennaye Field in Penzance but the Pirates scored five tries in the second half, through Rob Cook, Carl Rimmer (two), David Doherty and Grant Pointer. Helu scored Bristol's third.

The second leg of the Championship semi-final will be played on Sunday. Bristol are the only team in the play-offs thought certain to meet the entry criteria for the Premiership; the Pirates and Bedford cannot go up and London Welsh's status is uncertain.

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