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Preview: Gloucester Rugby v Bath Rugby

Preview: Gloucester Rugby v Bath Rugby

Gloucester Rugby’s Billy Twelvetrees is a man on a mission this weekend; desperate to get one over on local rivals Bath in Aviva Premiership Rugby and put their recent away performances behind them with just five rounds to go.  

The Cherry and Whites have lost away at bottom club London Irish and also at struggling Worcester Warriors in successive trips in March, leaving them with a mountain to climb to reach the end-of-season play-offs.

And while their only reversal at Kingsholm in any tournament since October was 19-18 to Leicester in January, Twelvetrees is taking nothing for granted.

“It’s even more frustrating because it's been in our own hands. We looked at Worcester and Irish away as games we could get results in, and we haven't done that,” he said.

“That could have a huge knock on to what we want to do, but a week is a long time in rugby and we have to bounce back against Bath at home.

“It will be massive for us, we need to put our season back on track and that will be a good starting point.

“We couldn't build any pressure and against a team like Irish, it showed at several key phases and we didn't help ourselves with the indiscipline.

“It's difficult to comment on the scrum, I don't know what's going on in there and it's about how you react on the back of that and with momentum shifts not going our way.

“But it's disappointing to give away that number of penalties and going down to 13 men it's always going to be difficult like that away from home.”

Bath's last four Premiership encounters have all gone in favour of the home side, while Mike Ford’s men have only won once away in the tournament since Round 4 at Worcester in February.

Gloucester beat Bath 15-11 at the Recreation Ground in February, but have not achieved a season's league double over their near rivals since 2012.

Bath have been victorious on their last two visits to Kingsholm in Aviva Premiership Rugby – no visiting team has ever won three successive Premiership Rugby fixtures at the famous old ground.

And with England cavalry now firmly on the horizon, with the likes of Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson returning, Ford’s men will travel to Gloucester with a real belief.   

Joseph said: “We care about this club massively and it's hurt to see how we've dipped in form this season.

“We're definitely back to train hard, train well and hopefully win against Gloucester at the weekend.

“As it's a local derby, tensions will be high and both teams will be up for it.

“It's up to us to make sure we bring our best game to Kingsholm and then push on until the end of the season.”

Kingsholm, 5.30pm

Referee: Wayne Barnes (166th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Gareth Copsey & Andrew Pearce. TMO: Geoff Warren.

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