Premiership: Gloucester 16-39 Bath

By Caroline ChapmanBBC Sport at Kingsholm
Alafoti Fa'osiliva tackled by Greig Laidlaw
Bath's Alafoti Fa'osiliva is tackled by Gloucester scum-half Greig Laidlaw
Aviva Premiership
Gloucester (9) 16
Try: Robson Con: Hook Pens: Laidlaw 3
Bath (15) 39
Try: Penalty, Garvey 2 Cons: Ford 3 Pens: Ford 6

Bath kept up the pressure on Premiership leaders Northampton by easing to victory in the West Country derby against Gloucester.

George Ford kicked Bath into a 15-9 lead at half-time, with Greig Laidlaw scoring the hosts' points from the tee.

The game came to life after the break as a penalty try and Matt Garvey's score pushed the visitors ahead.

And although Dan Robson responded for the Cherry and Whites, Garvey went over again late on to seal Bath's victory.

It was Bath's fourth successive victory over their West Country neighbours - and their biggest at Kingsholm - and means they remain two points behind leaders Northampton, who edged past Leicester earlier in the day.

Gloucester slip down to ninth and despite a valiant effort, had nothing to show for their efforts in front of a sold-out Kingsholm.

The last derby between the two was made memorable by indiscipline - with seven cards being shown and Gloucester finishing the game with 11 men.

Sam Burgess
Sam Burgess came on as a later replacement for Bath at Kingsholm

This time it was infringements at the scrum that dominated proceedings, and the Cherry and Whites counted the cost.

It started well for the hosts as, after the sides had exchanged early penalties, they were the first to push forward in an attempt cross the whitewash.

A sustained period of attacking pressure delighted the home crowd but, after 29 phases, Wales international fly-half James Hook hit a drop-goal attempt well wide.

Laidlaw kicked his side ahead at 6-3 but, as Gloucester were continuously penalised at the scrum, Ford made it count with the boot to edge his side six points clear at half-time.

Gloucester made an identical start to the second half as they did in the first, piling men forward to try and break the Bath defence, but their perseverance went to waste.

Ford added his sixth penalty of the evening after Gloucester were again penalised at scrum time, and referee Greg Garner lost his patience and sent home front rower Sila Puafisi to the sin bin.

A driving maul from Bath then earned them the penalty try, converted by Ford.

Although Gloucester enjoyed a healthy spell of possession, they could not make the breakthrough and an Ollie Devoto run down field led to Garvey crashing over and Ford adding the extras.

The hosts eventually crossed over when Robson sprinted down the left wing and dabbed down in the corner, with Hook adding a conversion.

But Gloucester were not able to go out on a high, as Garvey pounced on the ball and went over underneath the posts in front of the ecstatic visiting fans.

Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

"Unfortunately our set piece probably cost us in the end.

"At one stage we'd given away 11 penalties. Six of those were at the scrum, the majority of those were in kicking distance and George Ford just didn't look like missing.

"We haven't had as much possession [in the 22] across all the games as we had tonight and yet we just lacked that little bit of patience and cutting edge a couple of times.

"Scrummaging is all about how the players adapt to the referee, how they adapt to the opposition, and unfortunately tonight we got on the wrong side of the ref.

"Bath showed why they're second in the league and we probably showed why we're down at ninth."

Gloucester: McColl; Sharples, Purdy, Twelvetrees (capt), May; Hook, Laidlaw; Thomas, Hibbard, Afoa; Savage, Palmer; Kalamafoni, Kvesic, Moriarty.

Replacements: Dawidiuk, Wood, Puafisi, Hudson, Stooke, Robson, Atkinson, Halaifonua.

Sin Bin: Puafisi (58).

Bath: Watson; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Eastmond, Banahan; Ford, Cook; James, Batty, Wilson; Hooper (capt), Day; Fa'osiliva, Louw, Houston.

Replacements: Webber, Auterac, Thomas, Garvey, Fearns, Young, Devoto, Burgess.

Att: 15,780

Ref: Greg Garner (RFU).