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Johann van Graan: 'This is just year two of our journey'

By PA
Gloucester Rugby v Bath Rugby – Gallagher Premiership – Kingsholm Stadium

Bath boss Johann van Graan hailed his side’s second-half display as they turned around a 10-point half-time deficit to beat Gloucester 45-27 in a West Country derby he described as “a fantastic advertisement for Premiership Rugby”.

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Against a free-running Gloucester, Bath were comfortably second best in the first half at a sold-out Kingsholm and trailed 20-10 at the interval.

However, the visitors produced a superb performance after the break to score four tries in the space of 15 minutes as the hosts imploded.

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Stormers head coach John Dobson on the challenge of facing Benetton in Treviso

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Stormers head coach John Dobson on the challenge of facing Benetton in Treviso

Van Graan, whose side moved to the top of the table ahead of the weekend fixtures, said: “The second half was pretty cool as we showed that on a dry night, we can certainly cause sides a lot of problems when we enter their 22.

“We learnt a lot from playing here last year and picked a well-balanced side but we made a number of errors in the first half and couldn’t build up any momentum.

“Gloucester were fantastic by playing with width in that first half but we spoke at half-time at being more clinical and to back our fitness, so to win the second half 35-7 was particularly rewarding.

“However, I’m particularly pleased at how well we defended our line against multiple phases and overall it was a fantastic advertisement for Premiership Rugby and a great West Country derby.

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“We want the squad to get better. This is just year two of our journey and who knows where we will be at the end of the season.”

Ollie Lawrence scored two tries for Bath, with Will Muir, Thomas du Toit and Beno Obano the other players to touch down for the visitors. There was also a penalty try with Finn Russell adding five conversions and a penalty.

Santiago Carreras, Chris Harris and Matias Alemanno scored Gloucester’s tries with George Barton kicking two penalties and three conversions, but the hosts fell away badly after an enterprising start and head coach George Skivington was at a loss to explain what went wrong.

He said: “I’m lost for words as at this stage, I can’t really offer any explanation for our second-half performance and we will have to study the video to try and assess what exactly went on.”

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Gloucester have now suffered three successive league defeats after starting the season with back-to-back wins, leaving them eighth in the table.

Skivington added: “It’s definitely concerning as to why we are falling away so badly in recent games and I’d like to apologise to our supporters as there is definitely something missing, which we must consider in training in the week.

“We were very positive in the first half, attacked very well, and probably should have scored more points.

“After that, they targeted the breakdown and we couldn’t cope in that area so every time they got into our 22 they scored.”

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