Gloucester fightback floors Bristol

Date published: September 14 2018

Gloucester retained their unbeaten status in the Premiership when they claimed a deserved 35-13 victory over Bristol at Kingsholm on Friday.

It was a game of two halves as Bristol were the dominant side during the opening period and led 13-3 at half-time but a different Gloucester came out of the changing room and dominated the second half.

Gloucester eventually outscored their opponents by five tries to one with Charlie Sharples leading the way with a deserved brace and their other tries were scored by Gerbrandt Grobler, Ed Slater and Matt Banahan.

Bristol made their intentions known from the outset as they ran the ball from all areas of the field but they were met by a solid defensive effort from the Cherry and Whites.

Gloucester opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Billy Twelvetrees landed a penalty after George Smith was blown up for illegal play at a ruck.

The visitors drew level two minutes later when Ian Madigan added a three-pointer of his own off the kicking tee after Ruan Ackermann infringed on defence.

Bristol were slowly gaining the upper hand and took the lead in brilliant fashion in the 17th minute. This, after Madigan delivered a perfectly-weighted kick ahead which was gathered out wide by Steven Luatua and he did well to get a pass out to Luke Morahan, who crossed for the opening try.

Madigan added the extras and 10 minutes later he slotted another penalty after Jason Woodward infringed at a breakdown.

Gloucester were under the cosh but upped the ante on attack during the final 10 minutes of the half but although they were camped inside Bristol’s half for large periods, they could not breach their opponents’ tryline.

In the 34th minute they thought they had scored their first try when Jake Polledri crossed the whitewash but his effort was disallowed by the television match official, who could not see a clear grounding of the ball.

Bristol breathed a collective sigh of relief and held onto their lead until the interval.

Gloucester came out firing in the second half, however, and one minute after the restart Grobler barged over from close quarters for his first try in his first competitive start for the Cherry and Whites.

Things went pear-shaped for the visitors in the 48th minute when Smith was sent to the sin bin for a cynical defensive foul close to his tryline and his indiscretion proved costly as Gloucester would score 12 unanswered points during the Wallaby flanker’s stint on the sidelines.

Two minutes after his departure, Gloucester’s inside backs created space for Sharples, who dotted down under the posts with Twelvetrees’ conversion giving the hosts a 17-13 lead.

And three minutes later, Callum Braley drew in a defender deep inside Bristol territory before offloading to Sharples, who cantered in for his 50th Premiership try.

Gloucester had their tails up now and in the 64th minute their captain, Slater, secured their bonus point when he dotted down from close range. Twelvetrees failed with the conversion attempt but he made up for that miss when he added his second penalty five minutes later.

Despite having the game in the bag, Gloucester continued to attack and they finished the match on a high when Banahan dotted down in the left-hand corner in injury time.

The scorers:

For Gloucester:
Tries: Grobler, Sharples 2, Slater, Banahan
Cons: Twelvetrees 2
Pens: Twelvetrees 2

For Bristol:
Try: Morahan
Con: Madigan
Pens: Madigan 2
Yellow Card: Smith

Gloucester: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow, 6 Jake Polledri, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Ed Slater (c), 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Josh Hohneck, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Freddie Clarke, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Mark Atkinson, 23 Tom Hudson

Bristol: 15 Piers O’Conor, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Siale Piutau, 12 Tusi Pisi, 11 Ryan Edwards, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Harry Randall, 8 Jack Lam, 7 George Smith, 6 Steve Luatua (c), 5 Chris Vui, 4 Joe Joyce, 3 John Afoa, 2 Shaun Malton, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Jake Armstrong, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Nick Haining, 21 Nic Stirzaker, 22 Callum Sheedy, 23 Zane Kirchner

Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant referees: Wayne Falla, Adam Leal
Television match official: Sean Davey