Bath Rugby warmed up for their Aviva Premiership Rugby home semi-final by seeing seven different try-scorers lift them to victory over West Country rivals Gloucester Rugby at the Rec.
Gloucester bookmarked the first half with tries from Lewis Ludlow and Steve McColl, although in between Kyle Eastmond, Joe Ford and Sam Burgess all went over for the hosts.
And when Gloucester were reduced to 14 men after the interval as Nick Wood saw yellow, Bath made their man advantage count as Ollie Devoto went over.
McColl and Dan Robson did go over again for the Cherry & Whites – who will face Connacht for a spot in next season’s European Rugby Champions Cup – but Anthony Watson, Semesi Rokoduguni and Horacio Agulla all added their name to the scoresheet for Bath.
This means that Bath will now face Leicester Tigers at the Rec in their first Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final for five years.
After three minutes, Steph Reynolds was released down the right and found No.8 Ludlow on his inside who had the pace and strength to make it home from the 22, Aled Thomas missing the conversion
But Bath were leading after ten minutes as Peter Stringer found Matt Banahan off the back of a lineout and he made the initial break before Ford found Eastmond on the left who stepped past two players to score, Ford adding the extras.
And five minutes later the home side moved further ahead as Eastmond’s attempted offload was scooped up by Ford who scored in the corner before dusting himself off and nailing the conversion from the touchline.
Bath were not having it all their own way though and after Reynolds came close to scoring in the corner, the home side were pinged at a scrum and Martyn Thomas split the uprights on 25 minutes.
However, no sooner had the Cherry & Whites nudged themselves closer did Bath cross the whitewash again, Ford sending Burgess away and he showed good footwork and strength to go over, his fly-half adding the extras.
But as half-time approached Gloucester struck again, wing McColl outpacing Dom Day to touch down in the corner, Thomas missing his kick meaning the visitors trailed 21-13 at the interval.
Thomas made amends for his missed conversion shortly after the restart with a penalty, only for Ford to reply with one of his own at the other end.
Gloucester soon found themselves down to 14 men and even further behind as Wood was sin-binned at a scrum and the home side made their numerical advantage count, Ford sending Devoto over before adding the tricky conversion.
In this end-to-end match it was Gloucester next on the scoreboard as Thomas found McColl following a sparkling counter, the former adding the extras to make it 31-23 to Bath.
And two Bath tries for Watson and Rokoduguni put the game beyond any doubt, replacement Tom Homer missing the first conversion but nailing the second.
Gloucester had thought they had the last laugh when replacement Robson dummied his way over and Thomas converted with just two minutes remaining.
But it wasn’t to be as Agulla became Bath’s seventh try scorer of the afternoon after taking a quick tap penalty, Homer converting with the last kick of the game.
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