Santiago Carreras scored two superb first-half tries but it was not enough to earn bottom club Gloucester victory over injury-ravaged Gallagher Premiership leaders Bristol, who snatched an 18-17 win at Kingsholm.
Ioan Lloyd’s penalty five minutes from time ensured the Bears remained at the summit, with Gloucester’s losing bonus point insufficient to lift them off the foot of the table.
Ollie Thorley scored Gloucester’s third try, while Billy Twelvetrees kicked a conversion. Bristol’s tries came from Bryan Byrne and Jake Heenan, with Lloyd adding two penalties and a conversion.
Bristol began brightly and took a fifth-minute lead when Byrne finished off a driving line-out for his fourth try in the last three matches.
However, three minutes later, Byrne was forced to withdraw with a leg injury and he was replaced by Will Capon. Worse was to follow for the Bears when former Gloucester wing Henry Purdy limped off, with Alapati Leiua coming onto the field.
The visitors then suffered a further setback when Carreras intercepted a pass from Piers O’Conor to run 85 metres and score under the posts.
Twelvetrees converted before both sides had injury problems, with Gloucester losing lock Matias Alemanno and Bristol their loose-head prop Nahuel Chaparro.
After 26 minutes, Carreras scored his second try when he intercepted a wayward pass from Siale Piutau and the wing had enough pace to hold off the cover defence on a 50-metre run to the line.
Bristol had endured a rough half-hour but they responded in style when Dave Attwood made a strong burst to send Heenan over, with Lloyd’s conversion bringing the sides level at 12-12 at half-time.
Gloucester changed their whole front row at the interval and the hosts began to gain the ascendancy at the set-piece as the Bears conceded a couple of scrum penalties.
From one of these close to the visitors’ line, Willi Heinz took a quick tap before a well-judged pass from Mark Atkinson sent Thorley over in the corner.
Twelvetrees missed the conversion before Lloyd kicked a penalty to leave Bristol trailing by two points at the end of the third quarter.
Bristol’s injury nightmare did not relent as number eight Nathan Hughes became their fourth departure of the night when he hobbled off, but Lloyd held his nerve to fire over a 45-metre penalty to secure the West Country derby win.
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