Bristol Rugby talking point: Off the mark despite adversity
BRISTOL overcame the absence of 14 players – once skipper Iain Grieve and James Grindal had failed late fitness tests – to claim their first win of the new season and move up the Championship table.
They beat Doncaster 18-9 at Castle Park, scoring two first-half tries, before withstanding their hosts' second-half pressure with relative ease to offer an instant positive response to last weekend's home loss to Newcastle.
The injury problems continued, though, with hooker Ross Johnston hobbling off in the second half with a knee problem, but Bristol coped admirably with their difficulties on the night, closing out their opening win of the season when Matt Jones kicked a late penalty.
The contest itself was low-key – but, importantly for Bristol, players who may otherwise have been deemed fringe men are stepping up; academy players such as Ryan Edwards, who scored his second try in as many Championship starts, again looked the part.
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The injury list remains a concern – but the lessons head coach Liam Middleton learns about his squad players at this stage of the season could prove invaluable further down the line, when it really counts.