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Hill counting the cost

Bristol suffere three big injury blows during Heineken Cup win against Quins.

Last updated: 16th December 2007   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Hill counting the cost

Hill: Injury worries

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Bristol coach Richard Hill is facing more injury problems after three big blows during their Heineken Cup win over Harlequins on Sunday.

Hill's men might have moved to the top of their Pool after a third victory of the season over their Guinness Premiership rivals, but the win came at a price.

Mark Regan went off with a shoulder problem early in the second half, and his replacement David Blaney was stretchered off in the final minutes with a suspected broken ankle.

Dan Ward-Smith's luckless pursuit of an England place continued as he suffered a broken hand which could ruin his chances of a Six Nations call-up.

"He has broken his hand and gone for a scan," Hill said of Ward-Smith.

"If it is clean break, he is likely to be out for six weeks but if it's splintered, it could be eight weeks.

"It's very unlucky for him. Last year, before he was badly injured, he was out for six weeks with a thumb problem."

All the action came in the second half after a scoreless opening 40 minutes - the first ever in Heineken Cup history.

Bonus blow

After scoring three tries, Hill admits that missing out on a fourth and a bonus point was a blow that could hurt them as the Pool comes to a thrilling conclusion.

Despite that Hill is very happy with the position his side find themselves in as they continue to surprise in the competition.

"We should have kicked on and got the bonus point but if I was told we would have three wins out of four at the start of the competition, we would be delighted to be equal top," Hill added.

"Having said that it was points dropped, although we are not a team that scores many bonus points as our game has been built on set-piece and defence and the attacking game will, I hope, develop over the next couple of years.

"With the possession and the chances we had, to come away without a bonus point has taken the edge off the win a bit.

"There'll be a big crowd here at the Memorial Stadium for the visit of Cardiff Blues next month and I think it will go down to bonus points to decide who wins this pool."


Hill did question some of his players for straying away from their game plan during the match and trying to throw the ball around too much.

"Quins made us work very hard, they defended well and were very enthusiastic. As it had been dry we started to ping the ball around unnecessarily.

"Rugby hasn't changed for hundreds of years. You have to go forward, suck in the defence before you move the ball wide.

"Even though it wasn't in our game plan, we moved the ball wide against four defenders and that isn't our game."

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