Cheeky Finn Russell shushes the Shed as Bath claim stunning West Country derby win

Planet Rugby
Finn Russell kicking at goal for Bath against Gloucester in 2023.

Finn Russell kicking at goal for Bath against Gloucester in 2023.

Bath produced a stunning second-half display to come from 10 points behind and beat their great rivals Gloucester 45-27 at Kingsholm.

The Cherry and Whites had dominated the opening period, going 20-10 up at the break through Chris Harris and Santiago Carreras tries, while George Barton kicked eight points off the tee – Carreras adding the other two.

Ollie Lawrence had gone over for Johann van Graan’s men before the interval, but they didn’t hit top gear until the final 40 minutes.

Will Muir’s try got the ball rolling and Finn Russell’s conversion in front of the Shed reduced the arrears to 20-17.

The Scotland fly-half put his finger to his mouth following that score after copping some abuse, and it served to inspire him and the team.

Bath would remain in the ascendency for the rest of the match and they sealed an impressive bonus-point triumph as Thomas du Toit, Beno Obano and Lawrence all touched down, while they were also awarded a penalty try.

The victory moved Van Graan’s charges to the top of the Premiership table for the time being, with Gloucester staying in eighth position.

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Gloucester made an explosive start, with Jonny May heavily involved.

A pre-planned move saw the former England international tear through the Bath ranks to set up a period of pressure, with the wing soon producing another strong run which ended with Carreras being hauled down metres from the try-line.

Bath captain Ben Spencer was yellow-carded as he sought to slow down Gloucester’s possession and the hosts soon capitalised with a Barton penalty.

Bath’s response was swift with a Russell penalty rewarding a powerful burst from Lawrence, meaning Spencer was able to return to the fray with no damage done to the scoreboard.

After 17 minutes, Gloucester’s early dominance was rewarded when Harris powered over after Bath’s defence had been dragged from side to side as the hosts’ skilful inter-play had them chasing shadows.

Bath then missed a golden opportunity for an immediate reply when another break from Lawrence set up a scoring chance for Miles Reid but the flanker stumbled when challenged by Carreras with the line beckoning.

It mattered little as Lawrence took matters into his own hands by brushing off Stephen Varney’s tackle to score Bath’s opening try, with Russell’s conversion bringing the scores level.

However, Gloucester were soon back in front with more intricate back play creating the space for Carreras to walk over in the corner.

A Russell penalty attempt rebounded back off a post but Barton had no such issues as he slotted over from 30 metres out to give his side a deserved 20-10 interval lead.

After the restart, Bath were quickly out of the traps and roared back into contention when Muir collected Max Ojomoh’s long pass before bumping off two defenders to score.

Russell converted before Bath took the lead for the first time when Du Toit finished off a succession of forward drives.

In the third quarter, it was one-way traffic as Gloucester could not get out of their 22 and it came as no surprise when Obano crashed over for Bath’s bonus-point try.

Gloucester conceded a fourth score in the space of 15 minutes, a penalty try being awarded with their flanker Jack Clement sin-binned for collapsing.

Gloucester showed some spirit with a try from Matias Alemanno before Clement returned from the sin-bin in time to see Lawrence seal Bath’s victory with his second try of the night.

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