Throwback Thursday: Bath Rugby 17-17 Gloucester Rugby, 2017
Bath Rugby and Gloucester Rugby’s Premiership Rugby Cup clash on Saturday will evoke memories of their thrilling 17-17 draw in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in January 2017.
The competition, initiated this season to replace the Anlgo-Welsh Cup, has not been a happy hunting ground for Bath who have lost all three games in Pool One.
They will hope a meeting with fierce rivals Gloucester will inspire them at The Rec, while the Cherry and Whites are in with a good chance of progressing from Pool Three after two wins from their three matches.
The clubs shared an enthralling 31-31 draw in the Gallagher Premiership in September with Tom Dunn and Ruan Ackermann both crossing twice for Bath and Gloucester respectively.
Another bonus point performance appears to be the minimum requirement for the hosts against a Gloucester side who lost on their last outing against Castres in the Heineken Champions Cup.
Bath, meanwhile, went down 20-17 to Toulouse in the same competition but they’ll take encouragement from the fact that Gloucester have not beaten them since a one-point victory in October 2017.
It is rarely dull when these two giants get together as the 17-17 thriller, almost two years to the day, would attest.
Looking ahead to this clash, we have wound back the clock to see how that day’s action unfolded in Somerset.
On that occasion, Bath thought they had secured a dramatic victory when Aled Brew crossed the line with six minutes remaining.
However two minutes from time, substitute scrum-half Ben Vellacott touched down and James Hook held his nerve to kick the game-tying conversion.
Gloucester’s Darren Dawidiuk had given the visitors the lead, touching down after the ball rolled through the phases following a line out midway through the opening period.
The Cherry and Whites were close to doubling their advantage through Dan Thomas on the half hour but they were denied by a try-saving tackle by Brew.
Bath notched their first points of the game just before the break through Rhys Priestland.
After half-time the Welshman struck two more penalties, either side of a successful penalty by Hook, leaving it 10-9 to the hosts.
Priestland grabbed another just before the hour mark to give his side the lead for the first time, before the flurry of late tries saw the game end in a draw.
With three of the last five meetings being decided by one point, with two nail-biting draws, this promises to be another enthralling encounter.
Unlike then where Bath needed a minor miracle to progress and Gloucester required the help of other results elsewhere to make the quarter-finals, there appears to more at stake here.