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Match report: Bath Rugby 11 Gloucester Rugby 15

05 Feb 2016
Match report: Bath Rugby 11 Gloucester Rugby 15

James Hook booted all 15 points as Gloucester Rugby beat Bath Rugby for the first time in six attempts to move into the Aviva Premiership Rugby top six.

Bath’s losing streak now stands at six games in all competitions as they still seek a first win of 2016 but Gloucester ensured they didn’t become the first team to lose six consecutive West Country derbies in the fixture’s storied history by digging in at the Rec.

The hosts dominated up front in the first 40 minutes but Dom Day’s unconverted effort was their only try of the half as the Gloucester defence held the deficit to 8-3 at the break.

And Hook took over in the second half, kicking four further penalties to see his side home and up to fifth in the Aviva Premiership Rugby standings.

Bath started the stronger as they dominated the scrum and the breakdown, Francois Louw in particular proving to be a thorn in Gloucester’s side both defensively and in attack.

With four penalties conceded in the first ten minutes, it seemed inevitable Gloucester would concede and that was the reality soon after Tom Savage was sin-binned for a foul in his own 22.

A five-metre Bath line-out set up an inexorable driving maul which the home pack churned over the line, Day the man to dot down, although Tom Homer failed to add the extras.

The home domination continued after the score and Homer made amends for his missed conversion by slotting a 20th-minute penalty although once Savage returned to proceedings, the Cherry and Whites slowly began to get a foothold.

Playmaking Bath centre Kyle Eastmond was forced off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury and Hook finally got Gloucester on the board with a penalty shortly after.

The visitors continued to defend manfully but did have an opportunity to trim the deficit to two points at the break although Hook’s long-range penalty fell short and wide to leave the score at 8-3.

The home pack continued to largely dictate play at the breakdown in the early stages of the second period but two penalties from the boot of Hook, compared to Homer’s one, narrowed the gap to 11-9.

And with the wind at his back, the Welsh fly-half then nailed a 45-metre three-pointer to give Gloucester a first lead of the match on 56 minutes.

Their pack were finally beginning to match the hosts and although Hook missed a second penalty of the evening, he slotted another on 65 minutes after Bath were pinged for lifting a leg at the ruck to extend the lead to four points.

At 15-11 behind with less than ten minutes remaining, the hosts became increasingly desperate to turn things around but a series of handling errors cost them opportunities.

A late penalty was kicked to touch and although they steadily drove towards the Gloucester line, Louw was penalised for holding on too long and it was the Cherry and Whites who could celebrate a narrow triumph – their first win at the Rec since 2012.

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