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Premiership: Bristol Bears beat Northampton Saints after stunning comeback

Lewis Thiede crossed to put Bristol 17-14 up at Franklin’s Gardens
Gallagher Premiership
Northampton Saints (11) 14
Try: Mallinder Pens: Grayson 3
Bristol Bears (17) 20
Tries: Purdy, Thiede Cons: Sheedy 2 Pens: Sheedy 2

Bristol came from 14-0 down to stun second-placed Northampton and move into the Premiership play-off places.

Saints enjoyed a dominant opening 50 minutes, going in front when Harry Mallinder marked his first league start for 15 months with an early try.

James Grayson increased that lead further from the tee, but Rory Hutchinson’s sin-binning for a high tackle prompted a dramatic turnaround.

Henry Purdy and Lewis Thiede both crossed to help lift the Bears fourth.

Pat Lam’s side also moved to within four points of Northampton, who are now four points adrift of leaders Exeter Chiefs after a second successive defeat at Franklin’s Gardens.

Saints had looked on course to respond to their surprise home defeat by London Irish on 24 January, but Hutchinson’s yellow card with half an hour to play opened the door for Bristol.

Callum Sheedy landed the subsequent penalty from in front of the posts and, with Hutchinson poised to rejoin the action, Purdy crossed in the corner to pull the Bears to within a score.

Despite the Scotland centre’s reintroduction, the visitors crossed for the second time in the space of three minutes when Thiede forced his way over from close range.

Bristol hand to withstand some heavy late pressure but Sheedy’s penalty with the final kick of the game added further gloss to the scoreline.

Northampton Saints: Mallinder; Collins, Proctor, Hutchinson, Naiyaravoro; Grayson, Reinach; Waller (co-capt), Haywood, O Franks, Coles, Moon, Eadie, Wood, Harrison (co-capt).

Replacements: Fish, B Franks, Painter, Bean, Onojaife, Mitchell, Dingwall, Tuala.

Sin bin: Hutchinson (50)

Bristol Bears: Piutau; Morahan, O’Conor, Bedlow, Leiua; Sheedy, Randall; Woolmore, Malton, Afoa, Attwood, Vui, Luatua (capt), D Thomas, Hughes.

Replacements: Capon, Y Thomas, Thiede, Joyce, Heenan, Uren, Madigan, Purdy.

Referee: Tom Foley

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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