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Bath lose again despite dominating second half versus Gloucester

By PA
(Photo by PA)

The search by Bath for their first win of the season continues after their forward-led fightback fell agonisingly short in a 21-17 Gallagher Premiership defeat to Gloucester. Trailing 14-0 and 21-7 at The Rec, the hosts went on to dominate a compelling second half but having crossed through Tom Dunn and Niall Annett, they could not finish off their west country rivals.

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Two missed conversions from Bath replacement fly-half Orlando Bailey ultimately proved the difference, with Adam Hastings nailing all three of his for Gloucester in a match that produced a try count of 3-3. Ollie Lawrence made a strong debut following his loan move from relegated crisis club Worcester, providing some of the punch Bath have lacked from their carriers so far this season.

But despite perfect conditions for enterprising rugby, the afternoon was dominated by the two packs and all six tries were scored by forwards, although Lawrence, Joe Cokanasiga and Mark Atkinson shone in their attempts to make something happen.

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Gloucester’s superb first half provided the foundations for their victory and their pack supplied the first points in the eleventh minute when the maul specialists staged a trademark lineout drive that ended with lock Matias Alemanno going over.

Bath were unable to capitalise on lengthy spells with the ball and they also struggled in defence, with prop Juan Schoeman dispatched to the sin-bin – a loss that cost them moments later when Santiago Socino finished another Gloucester lineout drive.

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Stung into action, the Premiership’s bottom-placed side responded through a sustained attack, with Cokanasiga prominent. The pressure resulted in a yellow card for number eight Albert Tuisue, whose afternoon then ended because of a failed HIA, and the visiting defence eventually cracked when Miles Reid forced his way over from close range.

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Atkinson was becoming an increasingly influential figure in Gloucester’s attack and having created space for a lively Louis Rees-Zammit run, he set up his team’s third try. He carried the ball into the guts of the Bath defence and Alemanno was present to batter his way through several tackles and score.

Ben Meehan became the third player to see yellow for a high tackle on Cameron Redpath and the early stages of the second half saw promising signs of a revival from Bath. Lawrence launched a powerful run in heavy traffic but his success was wasted when Cokanasiga spilt forward close to the line.

The pack took over to score through hooker Dunn from a lineout and Bath were straight back on the offensive, with Cokanasiga proving hard to stop down the right. Replacement scrum-half Max Green was hobbling around the pitch but with starting nine Louis Schreuder already off injured, there was no cover so he was forced to soldier on.

Another lineout drive fell short and once Ruan Ackermann was sin-binned, Bath resumed by propelling Annett over the whitewash. Gloucester finally escaped the relentless pressure but they failed with a 76th-minute assault and when Cokanasiga set off on a desperate run, The Rec was on its feet.

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Play went end to end, but Bath ran out of steam to ensure they will finish the weekend rooted to the foot of the table.

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