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England duo make it five in a row for Bath

England internationals Anthony Watson and Matt Banahan scored second-half tries as Bath claimed a fifth successive victory in all competitions against Gloucester at Kingsholm.

Wing Watson's 62nd-minute score edged Bath ahead before centre Banahan struck six minutes from time in a dire west country derby when neither side looked remotely like Aviva Premiership play-off contenders.

Gloucester skipper Greig Laidlaw was left to rue three missed penalties - he had landed 17 successful kicks this season before Bath's visit - includlng two long-range failures in three minutes during the closing quarter as Bath prevailed 15-6..

Laidlaw and James Hook each landed a penalty for Gloucester, while Bath fly-half George Ford dropped a goal and converted Banahan's try as Bath left Gloucester still without a home win since they beat Exeter last April.

Bath have now lost just one of their last eight Premiership encounters against Gloucester, but the home side could have few complaints as they slumped to a third successive home defeat of the campaign.

Laidlaw returned as one of four changes for the home side, with Hook replacing injured full-back Tom Marshall, centre Billy Twelvetrees making his 100th Gloucester appearance and prop Paddy McAllister taking over from Yann Thomas, while Bath partnered Aled Brew and Banahan in midfield and paraded lock Elliott Stooke against his former club.

Torrential pre-match rain made the playing surface tricky in places, but Gloucester missed a gilt-edged chance for an early lead when Laidlaw sent a close-range penalty attempt wide.

It was a let-off for Bath after prop Henry Thomas was penalised following a scrummaging infringement, yet the visitors struggled for fluency and did not create a scoring chance until Ford saw a 22nd minute drop-goal attempt hit the post.

The scrums were a mess throughout the opening period, with referee JP Doyle having his hands full to ensure any continuity.

But Gloucester took the lead 10 minutes before half-time when Hook rifled over a 50-metre penalty, and he was only narrowly short with another long-range attempt four minutes later as Bath continued to infringe.

There was little, though, for a capacity 16,500 crowd to enthuse about, with attacking play at a premium and both sides possessing insufficient quality to convert possession into points.

The second-half began with Ford dropping a goal - his fourth of the season - to tie things up, but Gloucester needed just two minutes to go back in front when Laidlaw kicked a penalty, before Ford sent a long-range penalty attempt narrowly wide.

But Bath went ahead for the first time after 62 minutes when they patiently went through phase play and full-back Tom Homer found Watson, who finished brilliantly by brushing off Billy Burns' attempted tackle to touch down wide out.

Ford's touchline conversion attempt hit the post, and then Laidlaw took centre-stage, but on both occasions his kicks dipped short of the target.

And Bath did not require a second invitation to close the game out, as Watson went close to scoring another try before the ball found impressive Bath scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'i, who sent an unmarked Banahan over.

Ford added the extras, and Bath could reflect on an unspectacular victory that kept them in the Premiership's top four ahead of hosting Sale Sharks next Friday night.


From Belfast Telegraph