Gloucester 63 Bristol 25: Goodridge too good for woeful Bristol

Click to follow
The Independent Online

After the humiliation of their EDF Energy Cup hammering by the Ospreys last weekend, Gloucester more than made up for it with this demolition of the Premiership leaders.

The Cherry and Whites ran in eight tries to Bristol's three in a record victory over their West Country rivals. The first half-hour apart, there was a real seam of excitement running through this match. Gloucester, while not at full strength, were still fielding a side superior to that which was thrashed by the Ospreys. And it showed. A much weaker Bristol team was at times left floundering.

The two teams entered the final 10 minutes of the first half with just a penalty goal separating them, but by the interval Bristol were ahead two to one on yellow cards and trailing by two tries to one.

Gloucester's first try was a belter, a Ludovic Mercier miss-pass found Rudi Keil and he shipped to the exciting prospect Jack Adams, whose quick burst drew the cover before a perfectly timed pass provided the wing Mark Foster with enough space to go round the outside.

Gloucester pressed hard and a five-metre scrum appeared to be going their way when their No 8, Luke Narraway, lost control of the ball. The scrum-half Peter Richards rescued things with a quick pick-up and sharp break wide and to the right, until he had got around the stretched Bristol defence.

There was no stopping Gloucester after that. The second half exploded into life with three home tries in the space of 12 minutes. Two of those were by Jon Goodridge, the first off a line-out move which saw the full-back joining the end of the line and crashing over in the righthand corner.

His second began with a brilliant break by the replacement centre Anthony Allen, who put Goodridge clear on the left. Sandwiched in between was a try with his first touch of the match by Ryan Lamb, who had come on for Foster.

In the 68th minute, as James Bailey was crossing for the sixth try after intercepting a Danny Gray pass, Gloucester were reduced to 14 men when Adams was helped off with a knee injury. The Cherry and Whites had used all their replacements, and Keil was not able to return to the fray because he had been substituted.

That did not help Bristol, though, because five minutes later James Forrester, a replacement for Gloucester's captain, Peter Buxton, powered over on the left for the home side's seventh try. Rory Lawson ran in the eighth 10 minutes later and Mercier's conversions took his points tally to 23.

Bristol's two late tries, Mariano Sambucetti and Andy Reay adding to an earlier score by Bernado Stortoni, did not even qualify as consolation.

Gloucester: J Goodridge; J Bailey, J Adams, R Keil (A Allen, 40), M Foster (R Lamb, 62); L Mercier, P Richards (R Lawson, 40); P Collazo (J Forster, 56), M Davies (O Azam, 59), C Califano, W James, A Eustace, P Buxton (capt; J Forrester, 66), L Narraway (Forrester 31-38), A Hazell (J Boer, 50).

Bristol: L Arscott; B Stortoni, W Pozzebon, S Cox (A Maggs, 61), A Reay; D Gray, B O'Riordan (G Nicholls, 56); M Irish (J Wring, 56), D Blaney (S Nelson, 61), J Hobson (W Thompson, 56), M Sambucetti, N Budgett (D Attwood, 56), R Martin-Redman (C Pennycook, 19), G Lewis, C Short (capt).

Referee: A Rowden (Berkshire).