Talking point: Rotherham Titans 23 Bristol Rugby 16
BRISTOL Rugby suffered a third straight Championship defeat when they went down at Clifton Lane. They are now in ninth place in the table, six points off the all-important top four.
They led Rotherham 6-0 and 13-10, only to fall behind when prop Kyle Traynor was sin-binned and, minutes later, Rotherham were awarded a penalty try for a series of scrum infringements.
There were encouraging signs for Bristol, though, who produced their best performance since a 29-17 win over Cornish Pirates last month.
In the performances of David McIlwaine, who scored their only try, Bryan Rennie and Mike Tagicakibau, Bristol's back-line offered some hugely promising glimpses.
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They will also be boosted in the coming fortnight by the availability of overseas signings Gaston Cortes and Alafoti Faosiliva, plus the return of several players from long-term injuries.
The British & Irish Cup kicks off for Bristol next weekend, and they face two matches in the competition before returning to league action. Head coach Liam Middleton, who has fielded weakened teams in the past, sees the trip to Cardiff and home match with Ulster as ideal opportunities to rebuild confidence and momentum. He is almost certain to field strong teams in both matches.
But have Bristol, even after only six matches, left themselves too much to do in the one competition that really matters - the Championship?