Bristol Bears have been one of the best and most exciting teams to watch in the English Premiership this season.
This has been in no small part down to the quality of their squad. If we look across it, players like hooker Harry Thacker, back row forwards Nathan Hughes and Steve Luatua, scrum-half Harry Randall, fly-half Callum Sheedy, centre Piers O’Conor, winger Luke Morahan and full-back Charles Piutau have all been exceptional for them this season.
However, one player, who has now left the team, but who played a big part in their form this season, was Mat Protheroe. We will now look at one try scored by him, during Bristol’s game against Gloucester earlier this season.
You can see here how Bristol are in attack against Gloucester, and the ball is being passed down the line. The Gloucester defence are all ready to charge out, as the black line shows, and they are organised with no gaps in between the players. We see how Bristol’s line is spread out, and the aim of this is so that they can get the ball as quickly down the line as they can.
Here, we see why they wanted to do this, and why Gloucester’s tightly packed back line had a downside for them.
The ball is now heading out towards the wing, and we see how Gloucester’s strong central defence has left a gap open on the wing, where the wide defender now has to face three Bristol attackers. This situation has been illustrated by the lines between the three attackers. The gap between the isolated Gloucester defender and the rest of the team is also large, and this is where Mat Protheroe makes his run to score through. He takes the ball on the run, which takes even more time away from the Gloucester players, and Protheroe runs through, as the red arrow shows, and scores a brilliant and well-worked try.