Vunipola scores on return as Saracens beat Bristol

Billy Vunipola, wearing protection on his right arm, scored on his return for Saracens
Gallagher Premiership
Saracens (13) 44
Tries: Gallagher, Lewington, B Vunipola, L Williams 3 Cons: Farrell 4 Pens: Farrell 2
Bristol Bears (18) 23
Tries: Leiua 2, Haining Con: Sheedy Pens: Sheedy 2

England number eight Billy Vunipola scored a try on his latest return from injury as Premiership champions Saracens recovered from a surprise half-time deficit to beat Bristol Bears.

Vunipola, back after breaking his arm against South Africa in June, forced his way over from behind a Sarries scrum having come on with 35 minutes to go.

The impressive Bears had led by five points at the break, with two Alapati Leiua tries cancelling out Matt Gallagher's opener.

Alex Lewington touched down to make it 18-18 - but the game turned when George Smith was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle to leave Bristol down to 14 men.

Vunipola put the hosts in front shortly after, before Wales back Liam Williams scored a 25-minute hat-trick to seal a comfortable bonus-point victory.

But Bears head coach Pat Lam will have been encouraged by his team, who even registered a third try of their own through Nick Haining.

Having opened up their campaign with victory over Bath at Ashton Gate, Bristol competed well against the four-time winners and deservedly led at half-time.

But Sarries came out with renewed vigour after the break and former Australia forward Smith's red card paved the way for a dominant final half-hour.

Williams dotted down with his first touch after coming on as a replacement and added two further scores to complete a second-half treble.

Saracens: Goode; Gallagher, Lozowski, Barritt (capt), Lewington; Farrell, Spencer; M Vunipola, George, Koch, Itoje, Isiekwe, Rhodes, Wray, Vailanu.

Replacements: Tolofua, Barrington, Lamositele, Skelton, B Vunipola, Wigglesworth, Tompkins, Williams.

Bristol Bears: O'Conor; Morahan, Hurrell, S Piutau, Leiua; Sheedy, Uren; Lay, Thacker, Thiede, Holmes, Latta, Luatua (capt), Smith, Lam.

Replacements: Malton, Woolmore, Afoa, Joyce, Haining, Randall, Madigan, Pincus.

Source: BBC Rugby Union News

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By adamreeves / Administrator, bbp_keymaster on Sep 08, 2018