Premiership: Bristol 14-32 Gloucester

Mark Tainton
Bristol have lost eight of their 11 Premiership games under interim head coach Mark Tainton
Aviva Premiership
Bristol (6) 14
Try: Crumpton Pens: Searle 3
Gloucester (13) 32
Tries: Sharples, Burns, Ludlow, May Cons: Burns 3 Pens: Burns 2

Bristol's hopes of avoiding relegation straight back to the Championship look slim after a 15th league loss of 2016-17 at home to local rivals Gloucester.

The Premiership's bottom club remain seven points adrift with four matches to play and must face the top three.

Charlie Sharples, Billy Burns and Lewis Ludlow's tries gave visitors Gloucester a win that moved them up to eighth.

Max Crumpton crossed late on for Bristol before Jonny May broke quickly to clinch Gloucester a bonus point.

With away games to Exeter and Saracens to come either side of hosting leaders Wasps, Friday's defeat left Bristol needing to stun at least one of the title contenders if they are to avoid an immediate return to the second tier.

After Burns had kicked Gloucester ahead with an early penalty, full-back Jason Woodward missed two kicks for the hosts before fly-half Billy Searle made it 3-3 from the tee.

Sharples - only on the field as a temporary replacement while England wing May received a head-injury assessment - was then fed by Tom Marshall and crossed in the corner and Burns' sweetly-struck conversion made it 10-3.

In a bruising first half that included several delays for medical treatment - the lengthiest of which saw Bristol's Tusi Pisi stretchered off - both sides traded further penalties as Gloucester's Marshall ended the half in the sin bin after a deliberate knock-on.

After the break, Burns capitalised on a mistake from Luke Arscott to extend Gloucester's lead and Ludlow added a third try when he powered over after a driving maul.

Replacement hooker Crumpton's score offered the hosts some consolation but, as they pushed for a seemingly-unlikely losing-bonus point, they were further punished as the Cherry and Whites' swift late counter gave May time and space to add their fourth.

Victory ended Gloucester's run of six away league games without victory - including five straight away defeats - and moved them to within four points of the top six.

Ashton Gate
A minute's silence was observed before kick-off at Ashton Gate following the attack in Westminster on Wednesday

Bristol interim head coach Mark Tainton: "We created opportunities and field position, but we didn't execute, and Gloucester did.

"We are getting in the right areas of the field, but we are not executing, and when we turned the ball over or made a mistake, we got punished.

"We can't hide away from it. We've got four games left, three of them against the top three teams in the Premiership, so it is going to be very difficult to get something from them.

"But speaking to the players, we are going to try and fight right to the very end.

"A point or two points from some of those games, and who knows what is going to happen come the final week of the season."

Gloucester interim head coach Jonny Bell: "We soaked up a lot of pressure. We knew Bristol would come hard at us, and we had to defend very well.

"We are not getting ahead of ourselves. We've talked about the next four or five weeks being like a mini-season for us, and we are clearly delighted to get the win.

"A couple of weeks ago (Gloucester lost at home to Harlequins) has come and gone, and there is a lot of water under the bridge since then. It shows a huge amount of character in the side."

Bristol: Woodward; Wallace, Hurrell, Pisi, Lemi; Searle, Mathewson; Bevington, Jones, Cortes, Phillips, Sorenson, Jeffries, Lam, Eadie.

Replacements: Crumpton, O'Connell, Ford-Robinson, Crane, Fenton-Wells, Williams, Tovey, Arscott.

Gloucester: Marshall; May, Trinder, Symons, Halaifonua; Burns, Heinz (capt); McAllister, Hibbard, Hohneck; Savage, Thrush; Kalamafoni, Rowan, Morgan.

Replacements: Matu'u, Thomas, Doran-Jones, Denton, Ludlow, Braley, Twelvetrees, Sharples.

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