Two-try Sambucetti delighted with Bristol Rugby's show of character
TWO-try hero Mariano Sambucetti felt Bristol's performance in beating Jersey 39-16 summed up the squad's character after a difficult week.
Seven days after being beaten 63-7 at Nottingham and conceding nine tries, Bristol ran in six tries of their own to beat a Jersey side who have recently started to show some impressive form at Championship level.
Lock Sambucetti returned to the side and gave Bristol crucial added steel, as did fit-again prop Jason Hobson, and the Argentinian celebrated his return with two close-range tries.
He said: "I think it was very important to win this game and show passion, because when you take a loss like we did last week – which can happen, because it's hard to keep yourself at the highest level for a whole season – you must show you have learned lessons.
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"Hopefully, we've learned our lesson now and not at the end of the season, which has happened before – hopefully, we can build and take it week by week from this victory.
"Maybe not in how we played, but I think in terms of the spirit, we showed what we are about. To come back from 60 points, and score all those tries ourselves this week, shows that we're not going to take a slap and just sit down.
"We've shown that if we take a knock, we will get up and come back harder."
Head coach Liam Middleton, along with chairman Chris Booy, had called in the week for a positive response yesterday – and that is exactly what they got. Although Bristol were aided by Jersey having Ashley Maggs sent off and two other players sin-binned, they were the better team and deserved their five points.
"What we needed was an emotional performance – and we showed that," said Sambucetti. "It was a question of showing character – and we pride ourselves on being a team that has a big heart.
"Rugby is simple – it's 90 per cent up in the head and the chest, and the rest is just skills. But you can't train that passion and love for the shirt – and we showed it today."
Both of the lock's tries were close-range efforts, aided by his pack, and he played down his own role in the scores that helped him earn the sponsors' man-of-the-match award.
"I must have run minus one yard for the tries, because I got put back two yards before I scored that one-yard try – and two tries is probably double what I've done in my career, so I'm delighted!" said Sambucetti. "But it's a team effort – and it was phase after phase. I was just lucky enough to trip and fall into the in-goal area!"
Bristol duo Jack Tovey and Tristan Roberts have been named in the Championship XV squad to face the New Zealand Maori at Castle Park, Doncaster, on Saturday.
Championship XV head coach Mike Rayer, of Bedford, has selected at least one player from every Championship club – with all of those chosen being England-qualified players. Forward Bristol prop Mark Irish, who is now with London Scottish, has also been named in the 23-man squad.
New Bristol recruit Alafoti Faosiliva, meanwhile, is facing three weeks out of action after being injured in Samoa's 42-12 win over Canada in Colwyn Bay on Friday evening. The back-rower is yet to make his Bristol debut.