Premiership: Gloucester 26-18 Bristol
|Gloucester (0) 26|
|Tries: Scott, Heinz, Penalty try, Purdy Cons: Hook 3|
|Bristol (6) 18|
|Tries: Wallace, Arscott Cons: Woodward Pens: Woodward 2|
Gloucester scored four second-half tries as they came from behind to secure a bonus-point Premiership win over local rivals Bristol at Kingsholm.
Bristol led 6-0 at the break thanks to two Jason Woodward penalties.
But Gloucester rallied well, creating three tries inside 18 minutes after the break, for Matt Scott and Willi Heinz, followed by a penalty try.
James Hook converted all three, but not Henry Purdy's late bonus-point try before Bristol's two late tries.
Jack Wallace and Luke Arscott both crossed in a lively finale, Woodward converting the second of them to help reduce the deficit as the bottom club just missed out on a losing bonus point.
Although Bristol did get to the Gloucester tryline before the break, with skipper Jordan Crane at number eight leading the charge, they could not breach a solid defence. Instead, after the second of Woodward's two penalties, it was the home crowd who vented their frustration when former Wales back Hook, who has signed for Ospreys next season, missed a straightforward penalty.
But it was a different story once England centre Billy Twelvetrees had come on at the break. He gave a scoring pass inside the 22 to Scott, Hook's conversion putting Gloucester ahead before the Welshman kicked another after Heinz dived in from five metres by the posts.
Bristol were doubly punished when replacement prop Jamal Ford-Robinson was yellow carded and the referee awarded a penalty try, which Hook converted. And the visitors were again out of luck when replacement fly-half Billy Searle's scoring pass inside to lock James Phillips was adjudged forward.
Purdy then waltzed through two tackles from 10 metres out to stroll over on the left for Gloucester's bonus point try. But, with seconds left, Wallace got Bristol's consolation try in the right corner and there was somehow still time for Arscott to add another.
That made it a lot closer margin of victory than when Gloucester and Bristol last contested the 'Rifles Cup' at Kingsholm in November 2008 - a 39-10 home win for the Cherry and Whites.
Gloucester rugby director David Humphreys:
"The first half was not as good as we would like and that was credit to the way Bristol played and what they brought to the game. But we knew we were better than that first-half performance. We then did the basics much better, created field position and took the opportunities that came our way."
"To a large part, the league table is an irrelevance at this time of the season. For us, it never frames how we approach the week. We are conscious that Bristol are a team who are striving hard to move up the table and they were desperate coming into the game.
"The mark of a very good team is that every week they are desperate to win and I thought, despite a disappointing first half, we came out in the second half and showed that desperation for 26 minutes."
Bristol acting head coach Mark Tainton:
"A big swing was our try being disallowed and then a penalty try being awarded to them and a yellow card against us. That is a 14-point swing. We listened to the TMO in the stand and he could not see much wrong with it.
"He is saying that the player who had run the short line did not have an effect on the defence and the referee has had another opinion. But the referee makes his decisions and we have to abide by it.
"We controlled the first half well. We contained them and played some good football and they gave away penalties. We kicked the opportunities we had. But I was disappointed with our display after half-time. Our lack of concentration and discipline hurt us."
Gloucester: Hook; Sharples, Scott, Atkinson, Purdy; Burns, Heinz (capt); McAllister, Hibbard, Afoa, Savage, Galarza; Ludlow, Rowan, Morgan.
Replacements: Lindsay, Hohneck, Doran-Jones, Latta, Moriarty, Laidlaw, Twelvetrees, Thorley.
Bristol: Woodward; Edwards, Tovey, Hurrell, Wallace; Jarvis, Williams; Traynor, Hawkins, Cortes, Fisher, Sorenson, Eadie, Robinson, Crane (capt).
Replacements: Jones, Bevington, Ford-Robinson, Phillips, Fenton-Wells, Cliff, Searle, Arscott.
Sin Bin: Ford-Robinson (57).
Referee: Matthew Carley.