Match Reaction: Bath Rugby 17 Gloucester Rugby 17
Gloucester Rugby No.9 Callum Braley hailed his side’s fighting qualities after a last-gasp conversion by James Hook kept the Cherry and Whites’ hopes of Anglo-Welsh Cup progression intact.
After a late Aled Brew-score for Bath and four penalties from the boot of 48-cap Welsh international Rhys Priestland, it looked as though Gloucester would slip to defeat against their West Country neighbours.
But with just minutes left on the board, Ben Vellacott burrowed his way over for a Gloucester score, with Hook holding his nerve to seal an unlikely 17-17 draw.
Braley was understandably disappointed at the final whistle that Gloucester hadn’t claimed a win at the Recreation Ground but applauded the late fightback to share the spoils.
— Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) January 27, 2017
Braley said: “Bath put us under a lot of pressure in the second half and we were really up against it but the boys dug very deep indeed.
“We managed to get a couple of points out of the game eventually which is always better than losing and so that’s positive.
“It was scrappy out there and at half time we spoke about sticking to our systems and keep doing what we had been. We wanted more field position but we didn’t quite manage that and so you have to give credit to Bath for their performance in the second half.
“We’re not going to beat around the bush, we came here to get a result and help our chances of progression in the competition but now we will have to look at how things go elsewhere this weekend.”
In atrocious conditions, Bath recovered after a shaky start and dominated after the break, with Priestland instrumental in driving his team forward with his boot.
A massive thank you to all the Bath supporters who braved the rain tonight. See you next week in Newcastle!
— Bath Rugby (@bathrugby) January 27, 2017
Priestland was the star of the show for Bath but his late conversion miss after Brew’s score in the corner and his failed drop goal attempt ultimately proved costly.
No.8 Paul Grant did his chances of Aviva Premiership selection no harm with a barnstorming display at the base of the Bath scrum.
And the back row forward refused to lament his fly half and instead concentrated on the positive of the Bath performance.
Grant said: “A draw is a funny one and I don’t know what to make of it – I think we did enough to win the game to be honest.
“Gloucester carried on right until the end though and they made a very interesting game of it.
“They started very well but I thought our attack was very good after 15 or 20 minutes – it was fairly even at the end of the game.
“I tried to get the boys going forward today, I wanted to show people what I have got, it was difficult in testing conditions but I thought attack was actually quite good.
“It was a good performance but it’s important to show what you can do to get into the team regularly. You want to do well and I just want to keep putting my hand up for selection.
“As I say a draw was a funny result but in the end I thought we did quite well.”
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) January 27, 2017
Bath: Davies, Williams, Wilson (Clark 60), Tapuai, Brew (Hastings 77), Priestland, Cook, Obano (Marfo 69), Walker (van Vuuren 69), Knight (Lahiff 51), Douglas, Ellis (Stooke 51), Sisi, Mercer, Grant (Bayliss 66)
Replacements not used: Auterac, Homer
Gloucester: Marshall (Protheroe 77), Halaifonua, Trinder, Symons, Purdy, Hook, Braley (Vellacott 64), Thomas (Orr 66), Dawidiuk (Matu’u 60), Doran-Jones (Ma’afu 66), Batley (Denton 55), Latta, Kalamafoni, Thomas (Safe 55), Clarke
Replacements not used: Evans
Bath Rugby 17
Penalty: Priestland 4
Gloucester Rugby 17
Tries: Dawidiuk, Vellacott
Conversions: Hook 2
Referee: Andrew Jackson