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Improved second-half display enables Gloucester to hit back and defeat Bristol

Gloucester secured a crucial try-bonus point victory to leap up the Aviva Premiership as they defeated dogged Bristol 26-18 at Kingsholm.

The Cherry and Whites fired blanks in the opening half as Bristol went in 6-0 ahead thanks to two penalties from full-back Jason Woodward.

However, an improved second period saw centre Matt Scott, scrum-half and captain Willi Heinz and wing Henry Purdy all go over for tries, with a penalty try also awarded. Full-back James Hook also kicked three out of four conversions.

Wing Jack Wallace and Luke Arscott got late Bristol consolation tries, one of which Arscott coverted.

Gloucester began the match in determined fashion, with Bristol stuck inside their own half as the Cherry and Whites pounded their defence.

Former England number eight Ben Morgan was on the rampage and made several holes in the visitors defence.

Once they started to motor, the Premiership's basement side took the game to Gloucester, and they went ahead when Woodward slotted a simple shot from 23 metres to put Bristol three points ahead.

The visitors had Gloucester on the rack soon after as they reached Gloucester's tryline, with skipper Jordan Crane at number eight leading the charge - but could not breach a solid defence.

Woodward, though, added a second penalty after 18 minutes and were giving the Cherry and Whites headaches.

Skipper Heinz came the closest to grabbing a Gloucester try during a decidedly average first period when he was stopped two metres short of the line - and the home crowd vented their frustration when Hook, who has signed for Welsh region Ospreys for next season, missed a straightforward penalty.

Gloucester's handling was poor before the break and all the endeavour was coming from the visitors - but it was a different story after the turnaround as the home side pressed forward.

By the 50-minute mark, they had stormed into a 14-6 lead, with Bristol having no answer to some punishing Gloucester momentum.

Humphreys changed centre Mark Atkinson for former England centre Billy Twelvetrees at the break and it had an immediate effect as Twelvetrees gave a scoring pass inside the 22 to Scott. Hook's conversion put Gloucester ahead.

Gloucester's scrum overpowered the visitors inside Bristol's 22 and, when the ball popped out at the side, Heinz snatched it to dive in from five metres alongside the posts.

The home side had gone up a few gears and, when they drove a maul over the Bristol line, replacement prop Jamal Ford-Robinson was yellow carded for pulling it down. Ref Matthew Carley also awarded a penalty try, which Hook converted.

Bristol almost got a try when replacement fly-half Billy Searle set a lovely ball inside to lock James Phillips but, on review, the pass was adjudged forward.

It was tough luck on Bristol but they suffered even worse fortune when Purdy waltzed past two attempted tackles from 10 metres out to stroll over on the left for Gloucester's bonus point try.

With seconds left, Wallace got Bristol's consolation try in the right corner and Arscott got another virtually straight away.


From Belfast Telegraph