Mercier the merciless flays Bristol

Bristol 6 Gloucester 34

The vast numbers of overseas players in the English game can hardly be expected to have absorbed the emotional and tribal significance of these matches, and while there was nothing noticeably anodyne about this Powergen Cup match at the Memorial Ground, the passion and intensity were missing. Priorities have changed, and the public are not fooled.

The sheer familiarity of today's game - Gloucester play Bath on this weekend, and these two met three weeks ago - deprives spectators of a sense of occasion. A crowd of 11,558 watched that Premiership match. Less than half that number attended yesterday.

Crushed 41-9 at home so recently, at least Bristol played as if they wanted to put the memory of that defeat behind them. They also played with a refreshing liberty, if with disconcerting ineffectiveness. They might have been a lot closer at the break had Jason Strange not missed a straightforward penalty when his side were only four points adrift.

To make matters worse, Bristol then shipped a second try when the hugely influential No 10 Ludovic Mercier slid a little grubber into the path of James Simpson-Daniel, who touched down in stoppage time to make it 20-6 to Gloucester at the break.

Mercier had deceived the home defence with a little shimmy in the eighth minute to put Peter Buxton across the line. The Frenchman converted both tries and kicked two penalties, while Strange kicked two for Bristol. Gloucester looked in charge, if not in total command.

But Mercier had a hand in Gloucester's third try, which Mark Cornwell claimed, before Simpson-Daniel got a second - and very nearly a third - while Mercier wrapped it up with two more conversions.

Simpson-Daniel, who looked sharp, was named man of the match. It could easily have been Mercier.

So the men from Kingsholm are on track for the semi-finals and are growing in confidence. With Mercier to run the show in Saturday's derby at the Recreation Ground, Bath will have to be at their best to halt this Gloucester run.

Bristol: Penalties Strange 2. Gloucester: Tries Buxton, Simpson-Daniel 2, Cornwell; Conversions Mercier 4; Penalties Mercier 2.

Bristol: B Stortoni (V Going, 66); S Marsden, R Higgitt, M Contepomi (M Denney, 69), D Lemi; J Strange (D Gray, 69), J Rauluni; D Hilton, S Nelson (N Clark, 54), D Crompton (M Irish, 69), M Sambucetti (R Winters, 66), G Llewellyn, M Salter (capt), D Ward-Smith, G Lewis (J El Abd, 54).

Gloucester: R Thirlby; M Garvey, T Fanolua, A Allen (H Paul, 68) , J Simpson-Daniel; L Mercier (B Davis, 68) , H Thomas (P Richards, 60); P Collazo (N Wood 68), O Azam (M Davies, 40), P Vickery (capt), A Eustace, M Cornwell, P Buxton (A Hazell, 60), J Boer, L Narraway.

Referee: S Davey (Sussex).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us