A physical second-half performance from Gloucester saw the local rivals secure bragging rights after beating Bath Rugby 29-15 at a packed-out Kingsholm for Round 8 of the Gallagher Premiership.
The visitors brought a strong contingent for derby day, but the outcome didn’t go to plan, and the performance was not what the Blue, Black and White had prepared to play. The back line, which saw Francois Louw, Sam Underhill and Toby Faletau play as a combination for the first time in two years caused the hosts big problems in moments however, the second half slipped away as Bath Rugby let Gloucester back in the game after a strong first-half.
The first five minutes of play saw a brilliant start for Bath who were winning the collisions, however it was Gloucester who found the first points. Jason Woodward seized an opportunity and found a good score in the corner. The full back, who was enjoying his first game back, moved the ball with purpose and saw a gap between the Bath defence. After recycling the ball he found space to get over the whitewash. The conversion was well struck by Danny Cipriani who added the extras with ease. [7-0]
Three minutes later, Bath were awarded a penalty for Gloucester not rolling away, Priestland went for the posts and found three points which kept the scores tight. [7-3]
At 17 minutes, it looked as though the visitors were going to get their first try of the game. Some fantastic hands from Bath saw them on the Gloucester try line, however they were held up. The play continued and whilst the lads in Blue, Black and White may not have got the try the resulting play saw them win a penalty. Gloucester were found offside at the ruck which allowed Priestland to find his boot and another three for his team. The kick was never in doubt, and Bath took the scores back to within one. [7-6]
Four minutes later some silky hands from Bath’s backs and forwards took them into Gloucester’s 22. Following a series of tackles the hosts were penalised for not releasing, and Priestland kicked from the tee in front of the posts to give Bath the lead for the first time in the game. [7-9]
Moments later it looked like Bath would further their lead. The visitors won a penalty at the scrum thanks to the strength of their forward pack. Gloucester were penalised for collapsing and Priestland kicked for goal from the halfway mark, it made the distance but drifted wide of the posts. [7-9]
During the first 40 minutes Bath were winning collisions and were strong at the breakdown meaning they headed in to the changing room with their tails up and a slender two point lead.
HALF TIME GLOUCESTER RUGBY 7 – 9 BATH RUGBY
Both teams came out firing, but it was deja vu as Ackermann’s men found their way over the whitewash five minutes into the second half. Gloucester turned Bath over off the back of a lineout and after a little kick though Bath were found offside. Gloucester made the most of the resulting line out, just five metres out. The cherry and whites made a strong drive for the line putting Bath under pressure and following a stream of pick and go’s they broke through Bath’s strong defensive line and were awarded the try. Cipriani missed the conversion which kept the scores tight, but Gloucester now had the lead. [12-9]
It was a game of cat and mouse as Bath levelled the scores just four minutes later when they were awarded a penalty for Gloucester not rolling away. Priestland found the top of his laces and it was a level playing field with 49 on the clock. [12-12]
Six minutes later, the visitors found another three to take the lead again. Some fantastic hits from Bath forced the turnover. Gloucester were then found offside in the following play setting Priestland up for another kick at goal. His kick was accurate nudging Bath in front at 55 minutes on the clock. [12-15]
Two minutes later there was some confusion as JJ thought he was through to secure a score for Bath. However, play was pulled back for penalty against Bath and Gloucester had a chance to clear their lines. [12-15]
It turned out to be a key moment in the game as just minutes later Gloucester went on the attack and put the burners on full. Gerbrandt Grobler charged toward the line to the delight of a packed Kingsholm and Billy Twelvetrees added the extras putting the hosts back in the lead. [19-12]
At 61 minutes the tight margins that had dominated the first two thirds of the game were stretched blown out of the water when Gloucester’s, Ruan Ackermann dived over. The hosts were managing to convert their pressure into points and Twelvetrees’ kick was good to further their lead. [26-15]
The following 20 minutes of play saw Bath push and push to get back into the game but Gloucester were a team transformed at half time. Bath had let them get on top by failing to dominate the collisions as they had done so well in the first half. Billy Twelvetrees added a late penalty to confirm the Cherry and Whites as the victors. [29-15]
A frustrated and disappointed Bath left Kingsholm this evening following a defeat to a strong defensive side who made inroads through their marauding forwards and pacy backs. The visitors did well to force a number of penalties but physically lost out, ultimately losing the key battles.
4 January 2020
Referee: Tom Foley
Half Time score: 7-9
- Tries: Woodward (4), Clarke (44), Grobler (57), Ackermann (61)
- Conversions: Cipriani (5), Twelvetrees (58, 63)
- Penalties: Twelvetrees (77)
- Penalties: Priestland (9, 18, 22, 48, 55)