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London Scottish v Bristol – Sunday 27th November, 2pm: Preview

London Scottish v Bristol – Sunday 27th November, 2pm: Preview

Next up for London Scottish is a home match against table toppers Bristol Rugby. Scottish will be smarting from their last minute loss to our fellow Exiles and they don't get much tougher than when the West Country side roll into the RAG on Sunday afternoon.

Next up for London Scottish is a home match against table toppers Bristol Rugby. Scottish will be smarting from their last minute loss to our fellow Exiles and they don’t get much tougher than when the West Country side roll into the RAG on Sunday afternoon.

Bristol go into Sunday’s match as the league leaders at the half way point in the league campaign after their remarkable comeback last weekend’s win over fellow title contenders Cornish Pirates. Bristol recovered from being 17 -33 down at one stage in the match to record a great win 37 -33. Scottish will need to be at their very best and ensure that they can compete with a side which will no doubt be full of confidence.

MPU

The Championship has many detractors who are quick to point out its perceived deficiencies, but a quick glance at the league table shows that only three points separate the top five sides. This clearly demonstrates how competitive the league is and any team can beat their opponents on their day. To highlight this fact, Bristol who are in pole position in the table lost 27 -33 away at Moseley two weeks ago. Moseley are currently 11th in the league table and such is the life of teams in the Championship.

Since defeating Scottish 32 – 13 in an early season game the Bristol side have won six out of the next nine league games and remain undefeated in the league at the Memorial Ground. Their three defeats have come at Leeds Carnegie, Bedford and as previously mentioned Moseley. In his first season in the Championship, the new Head Coach at Bristol Liam Middleton, is developing a very competent side and is blending youth with experience across the whole side. Young duo of flanker Josh Ovens, who is on loan from Bath and centre Jack Tovey were recently awarded the joint player of month by the Bristol supporters club. So Scottish will need to keep a close watch on these two players on Sunday. In terms of leading point’s scorers for the club, Tristan Roberts and Matt James have been sharing the kicking duties and have scored 97 and 69 points respectively. The leading try scorer for the club is Jack Tovey with 7 tries and George Watkins in close pursuit with 6 tries. It was interesting to note that the change of the fortunes for Bristol in their match with Pirates turned in the last quarter of the match when they introduced their bench and what appeared to be their higher fitness levels to close out the match.

Scottish should take heart from their performance against our fellow Exiles London Welsh. The whole squad contributed to great overall performance and demonstrated that the team can compete with all of the top teams in this league. The forwards this season have been immense and have never been dominated by any of their opposite numbers, and this coming Sunday will be another opportunity for them to test themselves against another top quality pack. Injuries are part and parcel of the game and yet again the Scottish backs were forced to make last minute changes against Welsh last weekend. However, those who have come in have acclimatised themselves and performed to high standards, even when playing out of position.

Bristol will present a very tough challenge for Scottish on Sunday and the squad will be determined to maintain their good form at home. A big crowd is expected for the game and all Scottish supporters will have another chance to witness the next episode on our return to this level of rugby. Make sure you get down to the match for a game which should be a cracker. Enjoy the game and see you all there. C’mon Scottish.

The Bristol Match is sponsored by Welbeck Group, offering bespoke financial advice in City of London. Proud supporters of London Scottish.

For up to date financial advice and latest news go to http://www.welbeckgroupconsulting.co.uk/

A reminder:  If you pre-order your tickets online by Friday, you can take advantage of a 4 for 3 ticket deal.

Click on the ticket link at the top right of the page, or click here. On the Bristol ticket page you will be able to select the 4 for 3 option under Highlander or Clan sections.

Just add one of these to your online basket, and your group of four people will be able to pick up your ticket pack from the collection point on the day of the game.

For further information, call 0208 940 7156.
 

London Scottish 6 -20 Bristol

London Scottish 6 -20 Bristol

London Scottish, in a tough and physical encounter lost out 6 -20 against the league leaders. Bristol went in 13 - 0 at half time and after the break Scottish closed the gap to 13 -6, however Bristol pulled away in the closing stages of the match to leave a score line which did not truly reflect the overall play.

London Scottish, in a tough and physical encounter lost out 6 -20 against the league leaders. Bristol went in 13 – 0 at half time and after the break Scottish closed the gap to 13 -6, however Bristol pulled away in the closing stages of the match to leave a score line which did not truly reflect the overall play.

On a bright sunny day London Scottish played into a cross wind, kicking off towards the Park end of the ground.  The opening phases of play were played in the Bristol half.  On the 5th minute the Bristol fly half Tristan Roberts made a very good probing kick into the Scottish 22 metre.  Bristol at the subsequent line out stole the ball, which was moved out to the backs.  The ball was held up in the tackle, however Scottish were penalised by referee Michael Tutty for not rolling away at the ruck.  Roberts stepped up and converted an easy opportunity to put the Bristol side 0 -3 ahead.  The Bristol side were setting out their stall as they capitalised on Scottish’s inability to retain the ball in the contact area and were able to turnover ball on a number of occasions in the opening quarter of the match.

MPU

Bristol were keeping up the pressure and on the 20th minute the Bristol forwards retained the ball in a sequence of rolling mauls down the Scottish left hand side of the park.  The Scottish defence held firm as the Bristol hooker Rhys Lawrence was held up over the Scottish try line.  Shortly later, Scottish were penalised for offside after the ball squirted out of the back of a Scottish defensive wheeling scrum.  Roberts converted to put Bristol 0- 6 ahead.  The Scottish cause was further dented when second row Ben Thomas was yellowed card for foul play, after referee Tutty consulted his assistant referee.  Bristol immediately capitalised on their one man advantage and following a line out close to the Scottish try line the Bristol pack caught and drove over with Lawrence emerging with the ball.

For the remainder of the half the Bristol side continued to press for their second try of the match. However, the Scottish defence held firm with some resolute defending by the Scottish side.  In the closing moments of the first half Bristol was awarded a series of scrums close to the Scottish line and a subsequent penalty was awarded as the referee judged that the Scottish pack had deliberately collapsed a scrum.  Bristol opted to kick for the posts and Roberts pulled his kick to the left of the posts.  A great performance by the Scottish side when they were a man down, limiting the league leaders to a single converted try, leaving the half time score 0 – 13.

Scottish made two tactical changes at the break with second row Josh Brown replacing Ben Thomas and prop Lewis Theide replacing Aaron Liffchak in the pack.  In the opening minutes of the second half Scottish began to take the play to Bristol and were unlucky not to get on the scoreboard. Scottish was forced to make a further change to their side on the 46th minute when replacement Dan Mugford took over from fly half James Brown.  On the 49th minute Scottish showed their true attacking potential when winger David Howells carved his way through the Bristol defence.  He was held up 15 metres out.  The ball was re-cycled by the Scottish forwards and as the ball was moved the middle of the pitch the Bristol defence was penalised for being offside.  Mugford converted to put the first Scottish points on the scoreboard at 3 – 13.

For the next fifteen minutes of the game both sides tried to dominate their opposite numbers, however neither could create any opportunities of note.  As the match moved into the last five minutes Bristol were penalised after they collapsed two consecutive scrums in their 22 metre area immediately in front of the posts.  Mugford again converted to set up a potential grandstand finish.  Bristol had other ideas with a move that went the length and breadth of the pitch.  The away side were partially held up on the half way line and as they tried to exploit an overlap they threw a missed pass, which appeared to bounce forward prior to reaching replacement centre Matty James.  James created tremendous space and eventually off loaded to Samoan international centre Fautau Otto, who touched down beneath the posts.  Roberts converted a simple conversion attempt to push the score line out to 6 – 20.

Scottish continued to press forward in a final effort to secure the losing bonus point.  As they took the play deep into the Bristol 22 metre the ball was moved through hands quickly, with the ball being off loaded in quick succession.  The ball was eventually passed out to winger Howells who was driven over to touch down in the corner.  The Scottish joy was short lived after referee Tutty whistled for a forward pass as Howells was touching down in the corner, much to the dismay of the Scottish supporters in the ground.  Another tough and physical encounter for Scottish and the defensive performance was of the highest quality.  Bristol on the back of this victory regained their place at the top of the league by the virtue of winning one more match than their fellow title contenders Bedford Blues.

The Scottish defence in this match was immense and they tackled their hearts out, especially when they were down to 14 players through the yellow card.  Scottish will now prepare for their longest away trip of the season, when they travel down to Cornwall next Sunday to play the Cornish Pirates in what promises to be another great game.  Look out for the match preview later in the week.

Flanker Ben Lonergan was awarded the FirstCape Man of the match award, presented by Match sponsor Welbeck Group's Dave Fry.

To purchase tickets for Scottish's next home game against Doncaster Knights on December 10th, click here

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