Burns proves too hot for smouldering Bath

Gloucester 16 Bath 10: Fly-half leads Gloucester's second-half comeback amid TMO controversy


The Television Match Official experiment raises more hackles than a full moon during a werewolves' convention, even when it is not directly implicated in an incorrect decision. Video replays showed the Gloucester wing Shane Monahan was wrongly judged by the assistant referee Robin Goodliffe to put have a foot in touch as he passed for Henry Trinder to ground what would have been a crucial try.

Under the current trial in the Premiership, the TMO can be called in for many misdemeanours – and a series of reviews did both delay this match and right a couple of potential wrongs – but he cannot tell the touch judge 'Er, sorry old chap, you got that wrong'.

The scoreline at the time Trinder went over with about 10 minutes left was a precarious 13-10 to Gloucester. For the sake of justice and the nerves of the majority in a packed Kingsholm, an unimpeachable score followed soon afterwards. Bath fumbled a line-out, Gloucester won two penalties at the subsequent scrums as they went for the kill but the home side's replacement prop Dan Murphy blew that position by sticking his hand in where it was not allowed.

Soon enough, though, an insistent Gloucester had their reward when Freddie Burns chipped over a drop goal from behind a ruck on the 22. Burns may only be in England's second-string Saxons squad but the 22-year-old fly-half is stringing together performances that make a good case for promotion. His pair of first-half penalties and conversion of full-back Rob Cook's first try for the club after 51 minutes helped Gloucester overturn an early 10-point deficit and move above Saracens to fourth in the table.

That fourth placing would have been Bath's had they won. Their South African head coach, Gary Gold, shouted "cheats" during the first half and it was clear Gloucester going off their feet after the tackle was the subject getting his goat.

This was the last match for the experienced Test referee Dave Pearson before he takes a coaching job with the Six Nations, and Bath will not remember it fondly. An alternative view was that they did not do enough over the ball, such as when their wing Tom Biggs made a final-quarter break upfield but Stephen Donald, following up, made no impact on the developing ruck.

To be fair to Donald, the All Black who reassumed the Bath No 10 jersey after Olly Barkley's midweek departure to Racing in Paris, he is working his way to full fitness. He may sidestep like a drunk looking for a wall to lean against, but he was devastating in a straight line with a try to rock Gloucester back after just 33 seconds. The Bath props, Paul James and David Wilson, made charges to suck defenders in and Donald picked a lovely line of least resistance past Gloucester's loosehead prop Nick Wood.

When the Gloucester tighthead Rupert Harden was penalised for slipping his binding after 19 minutes, Donald added a penalty to the conversion of his try and Bath could begin to think about avoiding a ninth defeat in 10 league matches against their local rivals.

In between times the TMO, David Grashoff, had correctly ruled against a "try" by Nick Abendanon due to Bath's Kyle Eastmond having a foot in touch. "From a coach's and a team's point of view, we want facts, so we encourage the TMO trial," said Toby Booth, one of Gold's assistants. "The bigger problem is we don't have it in every game." Perhaps it just was a tribute to the 50th anniversary of James Bond that the Gold finger was pointed so demonstrably at Mr Goodliffe at the end.

After Donald's kick for 10-0, Bath might have had another penalty against Harden for turning in but they chose to attack. They look like a team gradually marrying the wide game with a much-needed improvement in the tight. Gradually, though, Gloucester got on top with the latter, perhaps due to second-half changes from the bench.

Monahan's 40-metre burst after a loose Bath kick narrowly failed to produce a try when he grounded the ball short and took too long to place it over the goalline – another correct TMO call. Cook's finish in the left corner was deemed worthy of another review. It was fine, and the way James Simpson-Daniel completely foxed Donald before passing to Cook emphasised the crying shame that "Sinbad" has given up on England ever recalling him. Simpson-Daniel should have won many more caps. Others such as Burns have much more to look forward to.

Nigel Davies, Gloucester's director of rugby, said: "It's been quite evident for a couple of years Freddie has a fantastic skillset but it is about managing games, kicking goals and pulling it all together. He's certainly doing that at the moment."

Gloucester R Cook; S Monahan, H Trinder, B Twelvetrees, J Simpson-Daniel; F Burns, D Robson (J Cowan, 58); N Wood (D Murphy, 62), H Edmonds (K Britton, 62), R Harden (S Knight, 58), T Savage (W James, 46), J Hamilton (capt), S Kalamafoni, B Morgan, A Qera.

Bath N Abendanon; K Eastmond, D Hipkiss (J Cuthbert, 69), S Vesty, T Biggs; S Donald (O Devoto, 78), M Claassens (M McMillan, 52-56, 69); P James (N Catt, 69), L Mears (capt; R Batty, 63), D Wilson (A Perenise, 63), D Day (W Spencer, 60), D Attwood, C Fearns, S Taylor (W Skuse, 52), B Skirving.

Referee D Pearson (Northumberland).

Attendance 15,677.


Try: Cook

Con: Burns

Pens: Burns 2

Drop goal: Burns


Try: Donald

Con: Donald

Pen: Donald


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before