Bristol ended a run of three successive Gallagher Premiership defeats by sweeping aside west country rivals Gloucester 34-16 at Ashton Gate.


Welshman Callum Sheedy was the victory architect, kicking 19 points, including the conversion of wing Henry Purdy’s try against his former club.

Full-back Luke Morahan confirmed a comprehensive win by touching down 11 minutes from time as Bristol were rewarded for their relentless pressure.

And substitute Mat Protheroe added a third Bristol try – again converted by Sheedy – to put the seal on an impressive display.

Owen Williams booted three penalties for Gloucester, while Billy Twelvetrees converted Freddie Clarke’s late try, but they failed to close the gap on second-placed Northampton after being outgunned in most departments as an 18,700 crowd roared its approval.

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Gloucester’s Wales Six Nations hopeful wing Louis Rees-Zammit was a bystander for much of the action, barely receiving a pass. And it was that kind of afternoon for Gloucester, as Bristol worked them out to deliver one of their most convincing Premiership performances this term.

Former Gloucester prop John Afoa returned for Bristol following a two-week injury absence, while centre Piers O’Conor was back following knee trouble.

Gloucester were without England Six Nations squad members Willi Heinz and Ollie Thorley, with Wales international Williams replacing injured fly-half Danny Cipriani and making his first start since January last year.


Bristol’s last league victory came in mid-November when they won at current league leaders Exeter, but they started with plenty of intent.

Morahan and lock Chris Vui both found gaps in Gloucester’s defence, and the visitors were made to work hard during an opening 10 minutes that Bristol dominated.

Sheedy then booted Bristol into a 13th-minute lead, landing a penalty following Gloucester number eight Ben Morgan’s deliberate knock-on, but Williams landed an equalising strike just three minutes later.

Sheedy restored Bristol’s advantage after another Morgan infringement, yet once again Bristol were unable to protect that lead as Williams kicked a second equalising penalty.

Referee Karl Dickson readily punished both sides for their indiscretions, and it was no surprise when Sheedy gained another penalty chance that he duly accepted, edging Bristol back in front twelve minutes before half-time.

And the goalkicking monopoly showed no sign of being broken, with Williams also completing a penalty hat-trick, before two further Sheedy penalties opened up a 15-9 interval advantage.

Bristol, despite monopolising possession, found it hard work breaking down a well-organised Gloucester defence, but Sheedy readily punished the visitors’ indiscipline.

The home side required just four minutes of the second half to find a way through, though, and it was Purdy – on loan at Bristol from Championship outfit Coventry – who struck.

His fellow wing Alapati Leiua made an initial break, flanker Dan Thomas acted as a strong link-man and Purdy finished off by breaking three tackles to touch down.


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Sheedy’s successful touchline conversion opened up a 13-point lead, and Gloucester had it all to do, but their misery continued when full-back Jason Woodward limped off.

Bristol’s forwards turned up the heat during a one-sided final quarter, forcing Gloucester back through some impressive close-quarter work.

They forced a number of scrums within sight of Gloucester’s line, and when the ball was eventually moved wide, Morahan finished off for a second Bristol try.

Gloucester were now battered beyond and repair and Bristol cruised past 30 points when a sweeping move ended in Protheroe touching down and Sheedy adding the extras, with Purdy’s 80th-minute sin-binning having no effect on the contest.

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