|Gloucester: (20) 27|
|Tries: Harris, Carreras, Alemanno Pens: Barton 2 Cons: Barton 2, Carreras|
|Bath: (10) 45|
|Tries: Lawrence 2, Muir, Du Toit, Obano, penalty Pens: Russell 2 Cons: Russell 5|
Bath turned around a thrilling West Country derby to beat Gloucester 45-27 at a sold-out Kingsholm.
Tries from Chris Harris and Santiago Carreras to one from Ollie Lawrence gave the hosts a 10-point lead at the break.
Yet Will Muir, Thomas du Toit, Beno Obano scored along with a penalty try as Bath ran in 28 straight points.
Matias Alemmano pulled one back but Gloucester’s fate was sealed before Lawrence added his second at full-time.
In a fixture that dates back to 1882, there was no sense that the rivalry was waning as both teams came out determined for victory off the back of two defeats each.
Gloucester started fiercely and an early turnover by Albert Tuisue gifted them territory, but their attack has yet to really get going this season – they are the lowest scorers in the Premiership – and twice early on, they knocked the ball on while in sight of the line.
Bath captain Ben Spencer saw yellow three minutes in for offside and the hosts could only score a George Barton penalty during their man-advantage period.
Russell swiftly drew Bath level through his own kick but it was Gloucester who built confidence, recycling the ball right, then left as Harris threw a dummy and powered over.
At the other end, Carreras’ try-saving tap-tackle denied Miles Reid but no-one could stop Lawrence as he shrugged off two players to score on his first start for Bath this campaign.
Argentine Carreras, also on his return from the World Cup, tapped down in the corner as Gloucester’s wingers started to fire, before Barton added a second penalty to open a 20-10 half-time lead.
Bath came out rejuvenated after the break and found a variety going forward they lacked in the first 40 to quickly turn the table.
While Carreras made two more massive tackles to keep out a sprinting Muir and then Joe Cokanasiga, he had no chance of stopping Muir the third time as the ball came over the top and the winger charged over, bouncing off the full-back’s challenge.
Prop Du Toit scored in his fourth consecutive game from close range two minutes after coming on to give Bath the lead for the first time, and Obano added the bonus point shortly after under the sticks as the momentum fully swung.
Gloucester had entirely self-destructed when referee Matthew Carley showed Jack Clement a yellow card for pulling down the maul and a penalty try was awarded.
Although they responded instantly through Alemanno after a quick tap-and-go penalty, they were all but confined to a third straight defeat.
And as Gloucester scrambled to salvage any points, the gaps opened up, allowing Lawrence to easily double his tally with the clock ticking over to red.
Gloucester head coach George Skivington told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:
“I’d like to give you an answer for that second half but I don’t have one.
“There was a lot of good in the first half, I thought we attacked well, thought we took some good opportunities. Second half was messy, they definitely attacked the breakdown, we weren’t good enough there, they kicked into our 22 and they scored.
“It felt like they had a bit more zip about them in the second half, definitely more accuracy and they won pretty much in every department.
“First half showed where we’re trying to get to, but it’s hard to look past the second half right now, hard to even remember the first half because that second half seemed long and painful.”
Bath head of rugby Johann van Graan told BBC Radio Bristol:
“We spoke at half-time about being clinical. Gloucester were fantastic the first half with the width that they played with, but we gave them multiple opportunities and we didn’t really use ours.
“I thought the second half was a lot more clinical; 35-7, you’ve got to be happy with that. But I think the way that we defended our goal line multiple times, that’s the thing I’m most pleased about – that we fought for each other.
“It’s a special derby in England – one I compare to the Bulls versus the Stormers or Leinster versus Munster.
“We gave Gloucester the respect they deserved and I think it was a brilliant advertisement for English rugby tonight at a full house.”
Gloucester: Carreras, May, Harris, Atkinson, Thorley, Barton, Varney; Vivas, McGuigan, Balmain, Clarke, Alemanno, Clement, Tuisue, Ludlow.
Replacements: Socino, Ford-Robinson, Gotovtsev, Thomas, Donnell, Young, Llewllyn
Sin bin: Jack Clement (64 mins)
Bath: De Glanville, Cokanasiga, Lawrence, Ojomah, Muir, Russell, Spencer; Obano, Dunn, Stuart, Lee-Warner, Ewels, Reid, Barbeary, Underhill.
Replacements: Annett, Schoeman, Du Toit, McNally, Coetzee, Carr-Smith, Harris, Gallagher.
Sin bin: Ben Spencer (3 mins)
Referee: Matthew Carley