Bristol Bear’s defeat of Toulon in the European Challenge Cup on Friday Night was not only an historic first European trophy for the club, it also completed a rather unique double for Pat Lam, Conor McPhillips, John Muldoon, Jake Heenan and Niyi Adeolokun as they now add this European Challenge Cup win to the Pro12 they won with Connacht in 2016.
The Club started in spectacular fashion with a try after just fifteen seconds of the first half when Harry Randall produced a stunning turn of foot to score the opening try.
Toulon however are not without class of their own and they turned the game around to lead 16-10 at half time with Heem crossing over and Carbonel with the boot.
Bristol had to start the second half brightly and the introduction of jake Heenan added a spark as three penalties from Callum Sheedy following so powerful play from the backs cancelled out a Carbonel penalty to leave the teams level with twenty minutes remaining before the turning point in the game came with the former Sarries player Max Mallins produced a moment of magic…
From there Bristol never looked back and in a final five minutes that showed incredible patience, further points from the outstanding Sheedy along with a Man of the Match performance from Ben Earl saw Bristol Bears win their first Silverware since 1983.
For Pat Lam and Conor McPhillips, this is another incredible coaching performance to add to their Pro12 win with Connacht when they were part of the coaching staff. John Muldoon was Captain of Connacht in 2016 and this is a remarkable achievement in his first stint as forwards coach. On the Playing front, both Jake Heenan and Niyi Adeolokun are now European Champions as players in 2020 as they were Pro14 winners in 2016.