Rampant Gloucester run in 10 tries past Bath for record Premiership win | Premiership

Gloucester can continue to dream. This 10-try bonus-point victory, secured by half-time against unbelievably ragged West Country rivals, maintains their hope of the playoffs in what promises to be a fiendishly close finale in the top-four race. Nothing less than five points would have done, realistically, after Northampton’s nerve-jangling win against Harlequins on Friday. But this was sheer destruction, and Gloucester’s biggest margin of victory in the Premiership.

With third-placed Harlequins facing two difficult matches, against Gloucester themselves then Exeter, anything is possible. Having lifted themselves into fifth, a point behind Saints, the Cherry and Whites will carry confidence from an astonishingly one-sided derby triumph.

Bath remain rock bottom, swatted aside with ludicrous ease in their most painful defeat of a traumatic season. The incoming head coach, Johann van Graan, will arrive from Munster in the summer with a job on his hands.

“This is the oldest derby in the country,” said Neal Hatley, the Bath head coach. “To lose a game like this, like that, makes it probably the worst we’ve felt over the past 10 months.”

Last year, Eddie Jones memorably liked Mark Atkinson to a man running for a bus. He “had things falling out of his back pack” in his desperation to prove himself, Jones said, and the powerful Gloucester center was in the thick of things from the off here. An intelligent delayed pass created an early opening for Louis Rees-Zammit, who unwisely chose to ignore teammates on either side.

Valeriy Morozov, the Bath prop, had been shown a yellow card for a high tackle after three minutes and a well-orchestrated Gloucester driving maul culminated in Matías Alemanno burrowing over, only for the TMO to rule out the effort. Chris Harris almost sprinted under the posts but was dragged down via a brilliant tackle by Taulupe Faletau.

Matías Alemanno of Gloucester wins a lineout. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Gloucester finally got off the mark when Harris dives over and Adam Hastings converted. Max Clark, the Bath centre, was shown a yellow card for a trip at the same time, meaning he disappeared from the action just as Morozov returned. Bath trailed by just seven points after enduring 20 minutes with 14 men, but Rees-Zammit’s early blunder would be a distant memory by half-time.

After Bath got themselves in a muddle at a lineout, Hastings popped a smart offload to the Wales international who danced over in the left corner. Inside the final five minutes of the half, when Tom de Glanville was turned over, Rees-Zammit kicked ahead and brushed off Joe Cokanasiga to dive on his second try. When Atkinson’s one-handed offload set up Santiago Carreras to canter over, the bonus point was sealed.

Less than a minute after half-time, Rees-Zammit fed Ben Morgan for the fifth try and the Wales wing was nearly in again a couple of minutes later, hauled down in the right corner only for Atkinson to run in a jaw-droppingly easy try after Sam Underhill rushed out of Bath’s defensive line. Lewis Ludlow, the captain, sauntered in for the seventh and kicked an advertising board to pieces during his passionate celebration.

The Breakdown: sign up and get our weekly rugby union email.

A lovely passing move sent Ben Meehan across the tryline, bringing up Gloucester’s 50 with 12 minutes left, before Jamal Ford-Robinson got to the front of the queue for the ninth try, and Alemanno romped over for the 10th, Bath’s humiliation complete.

“We understand the importance of playing Bath,” said the Gloucester head coach, George Skivington. “We wanted to make sure that everybody who came today knew we were going to work unbelievably hard for 80 minutes. That was the reset, full stop. The fact we nilled them is a sign of respect to our supporters.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.