Radradra helps Bristol secure play-off spot

London (AFP) –


Fiji's Semi Radradra scored a try as Bristol Bears secured their place in the English Premiership play-offs with a bonus point 36-7 win over London Irish on Sunday.

The Bears benefited from Bath being held to a 17-17 draw by Saracens in what was the disgraced champions last match in the Premiership for at least a season after being punished for breaching the salary cap.

Bath had only themselves to blame for letting slip a 14 point lead.

Bath must now wait nervously and pray Sale Sharks do not beat Worcester on Wednesday -- the game having been postponed from Sunday due to 16 Sharks players testing positive for coronavirus.

Whilst Saracens will not largely be missed by their rivals popular former England captain Chris Robshaw will be.

The 34-year-old bowed out after 300 games for Harlequins on a winning note with a 32-26 victory over Leicester Tigers -- the same opposition they beat in 2012 to win the one and only Premiership title during Robshaw's time there.

Wasps and European Champions Cup finalists Exeter Chiefs are also in the play-offs and the former ensured a home match in thrashing a vastly under-strength Exeter side 46-5.

Bristol's director of rugby Pat Lam was proud as punch of his side who have also a date in the European Challenge Cup final to look forward to.

"I'm extremely proud that we've earned the right to be in the top four throughout the whole season," he told the BBC.

"It's not easy to come here and get five points, in these conditions, against a tough side, with a physical, great group of guys, but we had a game plan and stuck to it."

Bath's director of rugby Stuart Hooper said his players needed to pick themselves.

Saracens showing their ceaseless will to compete despite it being a meaningless match for them levelled the game through a late converted try from Tim Swinson.

"It's a very strange situation, but one we've got to get on with very quickly," said Hooper referring to the Sale postponement.

"We just need to prepare as if we're playing in the semi and going down to (Exeter's) Sandy Park.

"Before the game we talked about it being in our hands. We had that opportunity, but it's out of our hands now."

- 'Deserves all the accolades' -

For his Sarries counterpart Mark McCall despite the anger caused amongst their rivals over the salary cap breaches and the relegation there are positives to be taken.

"We look back on the last 10 months knowing it could have torn other teams apart, but we're as connected as we have ever been," said McCall.

"We've seen a number of young players emerging. The next seven or eight months is another great opportunity for them to get experience."

Robshaw departs for the United States after a few months rest and a two year contract with San Diego Legion.

He leaves with warm words of praise from Harlequins head of rugby Paul Gustard ringing in his ears.

"Chris deserves all the accolades he gets," said Gustard.

"To win a Grand Slam, the first Six Nations title he has ever won, and to play 300 games for Harlequins, it is just an incredible achievement.

"The week itself, emotionally he felt it and today, when he first jogged onto the field, he could feel a heavy kind of burden as it was his last game.

"Chris is an unbelievable professional, takes things seriously when he plays and he enjoys the game with a smile on his face."