Premiership: Bath 31-24 Gloucester

Ben Spencer
Ben Spencer's guidance and calm was key for Bath in their comeback, capped by his late try
Gallagher Premiership
Bath (3) 31
Tries: Dunn 2, Boyce, Spencer Cons: Priestland 4 Pens: Priestland
Gloucester (13) 20
Tries: Harris, Banahan Cons: Twelvetrees 2 Pens: Twelvetrees 2

Bath's remarkable last-quarter turnaround secured a bonus point win over Gloucester at a sadly empty Rec to put them second in the Premiership.

Chris Harris' try set up a 13-3 half-time lead for Gloucester, which was extended further by Matt Banahan's touchdown against his former club.

Suddenly Bath woke up, with Tom Dunn twice burrowing in, generating belief and energy in soggy conditions.

Lewis Boyce added a third try and Ben Spencer crossed for the bonus point.

It was a positive end to an otherwise disappointing day for Bath, who had to cancel the attendance of 1,000 fans at the 11th hour after a change to government plans to permit spectators at grounds amid rising coronavirus cases.

Bath went into the match as the form team with six wins from seven post-restart, but for a good hour it looked as though it would be a miserable night for the home side, as they were made to look bereft of ideas by Gloucester's suffocating defence.

The Cherry and Whites are all but in the Champions Cup next season, but were also on course to dent Bath's top-four hopes with a superb display for the majority of the encounter.

With linespeed, power at the ruck, George Skivington's side were very impressive after Lloyd Evans slipped through the line to set-up the opening try for Harris.

Banahan's score after another blistering break, this time by Jake Polledri, and backed up by slick hands, had Gloucester in complete control.

Yet after Dunn's rolling maul try after the break had injected some life into the hosts, the game swung like a wheeling scrum in favour of Stuart Hooper's side.

Spencer's boot established field position, and the forwards were winning the collisions leading to further front-row tries from Dunn and Boyle, the latter putting Bath ahead for the first time at 22-20.

The bonus point try by Spencer finally brought a smile to the face of director of rugby Hooper, a very different look to his half-time expression, and Rhys Priestland added his fourth conversion, to go with an earlier penalty.

Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper:

"Never in doubt - that's probably three words I wouldn't associate with that. It's a huge win for our guys.

"You want to be in a position where we know we can go to Saracens, and if we get a good win there we will be in the play-offs.

"There is nothing worse than having it taken out of your own hands. That was an important part of tonight, and the five points was a big element of that."

Gloucester head coach George Skivington:

"That was frustrating. We were good for 60 minutes, then fell away and it was a snowball effect and we couldn't find our way out.

"I think that was 60 minutes of executing exactly what we talked about, but we are gutted to lose.

"You have to take your hat off to Bath. They have momentum, and that was probably the difference."

Bath: Watson; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Matavesi, McConnochie; Priestland, Spencer; Obano, Dunn, Stuart, Stooke, Ewels (capt), Ellis, Underhill, Faletau.

Replacements: Walker, Boyce, Judge, McNally, Reid, Chudley, Redpath, Cokanasiga.

Gloucester: Banahan; Thorley, Harris, Twelvetrees, May; Evans, Heinz; Rapava-Ruskin, Singleton, Balmain, Garvey, Alemanno, Polledri, Ludlow (capt), Ackermann.

Replacements: Walker, Fourie, Stanley, Slater, Reid, Simpson, Seabrook, Rees-Zammit.

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