Planet Rugby

Gloucester suffer derby defeat

17th February 2008 17:03

Share:

Jason Strange winning drop goal v Gloucester

Victory! Jason Strange kicks the crucial drop goal

Bristol snuffed out any advantage Gloucester might have stolen from Leicester's defeat at London Irish, winning 29-26 at the Memorial Ground in the Guinness Premiership on Sunday.

Jason Strange inspired Bristol to their victory with an immaculate display of goalkicking.

Although Gloucester edged the try-count 3-2 during an absorbing west country derby, Strange's relentless accuracy proved decisive.

The fly-half booted a drop goal, four penalties and two conversions for a 19-point haul that grounded Gloucester.

It was Gloucester's fourth defeat of the Premiership campaign, yet they had looked in control after scoring three tries during the opening 27 minutes.

Scores by wing James Simpson-Daniel, plus centres Jack Adams and Anthony Allen, appeared to put the visitors in control at 17-9 ahead.

Bristol though, struck with touchdowns of their own by hooker Scott Linklater and prop Jason Hobson just before the break that carved out an interval lead.

And despite clear-cut scoring chances proving at a premium after the break, Strange, whose late drop-goal won the corresponding fixture last term, ensured Bristol stayed ahead.

There was a fraught finale for the home fans as Gloucester substitute Willie Walker scored penalties in the 71st and 73rd minutes, yet Bristol retained their composure to play down the clock expertly.

Bristol's victory takes them well clear of 11th-placed Worcester, while Gloucester remain at the summit following second-placed Leicester's defeat at London Irish.

Bristol, unbeaten at home since mid-September, went into battle with England hooker Mark Regan on the bench, but Gloucester included red rose trio Iain Balshaw, Lesley Vainikolo and Luke Narraway in their starting line-up.

And it was Gloucester whose early rugby matched the winter sunshine as they posted two tries in as many minutes after a Strange penalty double hoisted Bristol 6-0 ahead.

Simpson-Daniel claimed the opener when he rounded off a midfield break by Adams, and the wing then turned provider through a kick and chase that ended with Adams touching down.

Scotland star Chris Paterson, the World Cup's most accurate marksman, missed both conversion attempts, but Gloucester then matched a third Strange penalty by claiming another try.

Strange turned villain for Bristol, firing an ambitious pass on the halfway line that Allen gratefully accepted and sprinted 50 metres to score, with Paterson adding the extras.

Trailing 17-9 and with Gloucester in sight of a try bonus point, Bristol could have folded, yet their response stunned the league leaders.

Opting to utilise their renowned strength - forward power - Gloucester leaked close-range tries either side of their skipper Marco Bortolami being sin-binned for pulling down a maul.

Linklater scored the first, profiting from a superb lineout take and drive by lock Roy Winters, and Strange's conversion brought Bristol back to one point adrift.

Bortolami then departed, giving Bristol enough time to take an unexpected interval lead when Hobson, who was on England replacement duty in Rome last Sunday, ploughed over.

Gloucester head coach Dean Ryan waited in the tunnel to read his team a half-time riot act as Strange converted, making it 14 unanswered points in six minutes.

And there was no immediate sign of a Gloucester recovery early in the second period after Strange and Paterson exchanged penalties.

Both teams tightened up defensively, closing down space, but Bristol exerted a prolonged territorial grip on the contest, pinning Gloucester deep inside their own half for much of the third quarter.

Ryan made liberal use of his substitutes to try to revive Gloucester's challenge, but it looked over when Strange slotted a drop-goal 14 minutes from time.

Walker though, who replaced a largely subdued Paterson, had other ideas as he landed two penalties in quick succession that reduced the gap to 29-26.

Bristol had to regroup as pressure mounted from their opponents, yet experienced heads like Strange, skipper Matt Salter, number eight Andrew Blowers and the outstanding Linklater ensured the prize of a notable victory was not allowed to slip away.

The scorers:

For Bristol:

Tries: Linklater, Hobson

Cons: Strange 2

Pens: Strange 4

Drop goal: Strange

For Gloucester:

Tries: Simpson-Daniel, Adams, Allen

Con: Paterson

Pens: Paterson, Walker 2

Bristol: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Lee Robinson, 13 Rob Higgitt, 12 David Hill, 11 David Lemi, 10 Jason Strange, 9 Brian O'Riordan, 8 Andrew Blowers, 7 Joe El Abd, 6 Matt Salter, 5 Sean Hohneck, 4 Roy Winters, 3 Jason Hobson, 2 Scott Linklater, 1 Darren Crompton.

Replacements: 16 Mark Regan, 17 Alex Clarke, 18 Gareth Llewellyn, 19 Alfie To'oala, 20 Graeme Beveridge, 21 Sam Cox, 22 Josh Taumalolo.

Gloucester: 15 Iain Balshaw, 14 James Simpson-Daniel, 13 Jack Adams, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Lesley Vainikolo, 10 Chris Paterson,9 Gareth Cooper, 8 Gareth Delve, 7 Andy Hazell, 6 Luke Narraway, 5 Will James, 4 Marco Bortolami (capt), 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Jeremy Paul, 1 Nick Wood.

Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Peter Buxton, 19 Alasdair Strokosch, 20 Rory Lawson, 21 Willie Walker, 22 Mark Foster.

Referee: Wayne Barnes

Touch judges: Ashley Reay, Paul Emerson

Television match official: Brian Abrahams

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 5
Northampton vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 6
Saracens vs Wasps14:00
Sale vs Bath14:00
Leicester vs Newcastle15:00
London Irish vs Harlequins16:30
Sunday , September 7
London Welsh vs Exeter14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 6
New Zealand vs Argentina08:35
Australia vs South Africa11:05
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets vs Ulster14:40
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons17:00
Glasgow vs Leinster17:15
Sunday , September 7
Zebre vs Cardiff Blues17:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 5
Montpellier vs Castres20:45
Saturday , September 6
Brive vs Toulouse14:45
Clermont Auvergne vs Racing Metro Paris17:00
Lyon vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs La Rochelle18:30
Toulon vs Bordeaux-Begles20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 5
Western Province vs Eastern Province Kings19:10
Saturday , September 6
Cheetahs vs Pumas15:00
Sharks vs Griquas17:05
Blue Bulls vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki 41 - 3 Bay Of PlentyTaranaki vs Bay Of Plenty Report
Auckland 16 - 16 TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle 37 - 25 ToulouseLa Rochelle vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 33 - 6 Stade Francais
Castres 30 - 6 BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Report
Racing Metro Paris 17 - 10 ToulonRacing Metro Paris vs Toulon Report
Lyon 24 - 6 Brive
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 25 - 36 CheetahsGriquas vs Cheetahs Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 41 LionsEastern Province Kings vs Lions Report
Blue Bulls 18 - 23 Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 21 - 27 Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Report
Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00