Bears complete second half comeback after given the hairdryer treatment by Lam
Harlequins 19 Bristol Bears 27
Gallagher Premiership 26th December 2020
A rousing second half performance from Bristol Bears completed a 27-19 victory against Harlequins at the Stoop on Boxing Day.
Despite Harlequins shading the opening half 9-5, a team talk from Bears director of rugby Pat Lam somehow seemed to wake up his troops for the second half in which they responded with three to claim a bonus point victory.
Harlequins started the game similar to their previous matches by giving away too many early penalties. Despite this indiscretion, three penalty kicks from Marcus Smith gave Harlequins a 9-0 lead after 25 minutes.
On 33 minutes, the turning point of the game when Wilco Louw thought he had touched down for the hosts, only for the TMO to rule the try out as there was no clear grounding.
It took Bristol fully fourty minutes to really get into the game and on the stroke of half time had their first points on the board when Dan Thomas exchanged passes with his captain Steven Luatua and duly ran into the corner to cut the deficit to four points at the interval.
Lam’s team talk which he said after the game was honest and frank. “I told them they could either take the exit door, get on the bus and go straight home or take the one back out onto the field by pulling themselves together, playing the way we came her to play, and sorting it out”.
With those words ringing in the players ears, it seemed to do the trick as Bristol looked a completely different side in the second half.
A quick tap and go from Harry Randall caught Quins napping, with Luatua barging his way over to give Bears the lead for the first time in the game. Both sides then traded penalties before a combination of Nathan Hughes and Randall combined for another Bears try, with Randall spotting a gap in Quins defence to run in.
On 67 minutes Bristol had wrapped up the try bonus point when replacement Niyi Adeolokun pace and power left Mike Brown trailing in his wake to skip over.
Smith provided some consolation for Quins on the 80 minute mark by converting his own try, but it was scant consolation for the hosts who had held their own in the opening forty minutes, but were always second best in the remaining forty minutes.