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Match Reaction: Gloucester Rugby 6 Bath Rugby 15

David Humphreys refused to blame goal kicker Greig Laidlaw for Gloucester Rugby’s 15-6 West Country derby defeat to Bath Rugby, after the scrum-half missed three crucial penalties in their Aviva Premiership Rugby encounter.

In a tight affair, Gloucester led 3-0 at the break before Anthony Watson scored the game’s first try in the second half.

Laidlaw then missed two penalties within four minutes with the game evenly poised, and Matt Banahan wrapped the game for Bath with a score in the corner following a scrum.

And director of rugby Humphreys says Gloucester need to improve quickly after one win from their first five Aviva Premiership Rugby games, but heaped praise on Scotland international Laidlaw.

“With what Greig has done for the team over the last two years, there is certainly no fault attributed to his goal kicking,” he said.

“Of course, in a game that tight, the scoreboard pressure comes from keeping it moving. We had other opportunities but we made too many errors to turn those opportunities into points.

“There is always pressure whether you are winning or losing and we know it is an unacceptable start to the season.

“We know three losses at home isn’t good enough and, with the changes that were made over the past two seasons, we wanted to make Kingsholm a difficult place to come and play.

“We have achieved that but we have let ourselves down this season and, as much as there are some positives to take, we have to find a way to win games like this.”

In contrast, Bath centre Banahan hailed his side’s spirit and togetherness after they secured their fourth win of the season.

They now sit third in the table with just one defeat in five and are now gearing up to face Sale Sharks on Friday night.

“We know derby games aren’t always pretty, but we knew if we stuck to our process and game plan, at certain points it would come through for us today,” Banahan said.

“We’ve stuck together as a tight group this season so far and today just shows the talent of the boys.

“I think we made 75 tackles in the first half and knew that at certain times in the game we would get a chance in attack so it was about sticking to our processes.

“The second half was a good team effort. We have to look at how the season started for us. We are a tight group and that shows at Northampton and here.

“We knew with hard work and graft things will come.”

Gloucester Rugby: Hook; Sharples, Twelvetrees, Atkinson (Scott 70), Purdy (Halaifanua 75), Burns (Heinz 64), Laidlaw; McAllister (Thomas 55), Hibbard (Dawiduik 76), Afoa (Doran-Jones 64), Savage (Latta 76), Galarza, Moriarty, Rowan (Kvesic 72), Morgan

Subs: Dawidiuk, Thomas, Doran-Jones, Latta, Kvesic, Heinz, Scott, Halaifonua

Bath Rugby: Homer; Rokoduguni (Williams 69), Brew, Banahan, Watson; Ford (c), Fotuali’I, Catt (Auterac 59), Dunn (Batty 59), Thomas (Palma-Newport 59), Ewels, Stooke (Attwood 55), Garvey, Ellis, Houston (Z Mercer 63)

Replacements: Cook, Jennings

Gloucester Rugby

Penalties: Hook, Laidlaw

Bath Rugby

Tries: Watson, Banahan

Conversions: Ford

Drop-goals: Ford

Referee: J P Doyle

Attendance: 16,115

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