Discussion in 'Aviva Premiership / LV Cup' started by getofmeland, Jan 3, 2008.
Big big game. A win would take glos 8 points clear of second, while a win for Bath brings Gloucester back into the pack, and leave the top 5 seperated by as little as 5 points. It could be the biggest game of the season, and the first big away test for gloucester since the world cup finished.
I really hope this game lives up to expectations. It has the potential to be one of the games of the season.
Gloucester have suffered a double blow ahead of Friday's game against Bath after James Simpson-Daniel and Lesley Vainikolo were both forced out.
Simpson-Daniel has flu and Vainikolo, whose brother died recently, has gone back to New Zealand because of what the club calls "a serious family problem".
This game is massive. I hope it produces a good game and that bath lose.
All credit to Bath,they played perfect wet weather rugby and denied Gloucester even a sniff of the ball. As soon as i saw the dreadfull conditions i knew we were f***ed. This is the beauty of northern hemisphere competitionsyou have to be a team for all seasons. Obviously my beloved Glos are at the moment a dry weather side.
Bath 10-5 Gloucester
Bath (3) 10
Gloucester (0) 5
Second-placed Bath closed the gap on leaders Gloucester as they battled to a deserved victory in an absorbing derby at a rain-sodden Recreation Ground.
Bath made light of ankle-deep mud as they produced some superb rugby in the first half, but they could only take a 3-0 lead into half-time.
Joe Maddock scored to put Bath 10-0 up, before Chris Paterson's magnificent try got Gloucester back into the frame.
But Bath denied Gloucester possession for the remainder to seal the win.
The game started 15 minutes late to give the ground staff more time to mop up the excess water on the sodden pitch, but the sell-out crowd - including England coaches Brian Ashton and John Wells - got their money's worth from a fiercely contested encounter.
The early stages were understandably dominated by the boot with the kickers on both sides testing out their opponents' mettle under the high ball.
But Bath soon adapted to the muddy conditions as they controlled possession, stretching a Gloucester side denied the services of James Simpson-Daniel and Lesley Vainikolo on several occasions by bravely sticking to their offloading game.
Olly Barkley had the chance to put Bath ahead with a long-range penalty after 10 minutes, but his effort came up just short of the posts.
A glorious Nick Abendanon break from deep kept Bath on the front foot, but a combination of the conditions and stout Gloucester defence meant genuine try-scoring opportunities were almost non-existent.
Gloucester were virtual strangers to the ball, except to kick it back to their hosts, but it took until the 30th minute for Bath to take a richly deserved lead when Barkley's penalty clipped in off the post.
Bath continued to enjoy the better of the closing minutes, but they had to settle for a scoreline that did not even begin to reflect their dominance.
Both teams came out in fresh kits after the break, but it was more of the same in the early stages as Bath enjoyed almost exclusive possession of the ball.
Ironically, Bath's try finally came after an attack of 19 phases was abruptly ended with a fly-hack from a Gloucester foot.
The ball found Abendanon with time, and the full-back showed superb vision to kick into acres of space for Maddock to score unopposed.
Barkley curled in an excellent conversion to put Bath 10-0 up, and seemingly in total control.
Gloucester, for all their effort in defence, looked to be devoid of attacking ideas but a scintillating break from 50m out saw replacement Paterson glide past three Bath tacklers to score a fine try.
His conversion hit the post and bounced out to leave his side five points behind, and Bath had enough nous and muscle to close out the win that leaves them just two points behind the leaders.
Bath coach Steve Meehan:
"I am very satisfied with that, and very proud with the way the players knuckled down to the task. "We were a better team than the margin showed. We didn't go into our shells and played most of the rugby.
"We have done a good job on the leaders and we can take a lot of pride and self-belief out of that performance."
Gloucester coach Dean Ryan:
"The margins are so small that sometimes you have to accept what has happened and move forward. "It doesn't affect the bigger picture or the direction we are moving in.
"It is important that we don't allow it to affect us. If there were seven or eight things we didn't do very well then fair enough, but there weren't."
Ryan on Lesley Vainikolo's return to New Zealand:
"(On Thursday) we were informed of a serious family problem in New Zealand that Lesley needed to attend urgently.
"Naturally, our thoughts are with him, we will give him as much time as he needs and support him on his return. Until that happens, we will be making no further comment."
Bath: Abendanon; Maddock, Crockett, Barkley, Banahan; James, Claassens; Barnes, Mears, Stevens, Borthwick (capt), Grewcock, Beattie, Lipman, Browne.
Replacements: Dixon, Ion, Short, Faamatuainu, Walshe, Berne, Stephenson.
Gloucester: Walker; Bailey, Tindall, Allen, Lloyd; Lamb, Lawson; Wood, Azam, Nieto, Bortolami (capt), Brown, Buxton, Qera, Narraway.
Replacements: Paul, Collazo, James, Strokosch, Prendergast, Paterson, Foster.
Story from BBC SPORT:
i don't believe it, Paterson missed a conversion!!!!!
Well done Bath!!!!
Gloucester will be pretty chuffed to get away with a bonus point. Completely outplayed and out thought in that game, the Bath pack was clearly superior and played the better rugby for the conditions. So deserved the win completely, good to Butch James playing well, great try by Paterson to.
The weather conditions dictated the way that the game would be played but I thought Bath adapted their game brilliantly in the wet. Credit also to Gloucester's defence who were getting a battering for long periods of the game.
I was seriously impressed at the game Bath managed to play in that wet weather, the first premiership game I really couldn't stop watching. It was like watching Boland play in the wet, they almost seemed like naturals.
that cross over to Maddock was brilliant, of the 2 Bath games I've watched (the other one being against Wasps) he's been the standout player for me.
Maddock has improved loads under Meehan, he has really started to shine, Claassens and James are a superb pairing and have been getting some good ball from the forwards in recent weeks... Bath are on a roll and could have been Top if it wasn't for the squad rotation against Wasps...
But we all know finishing top means absolutely nothing now anyway, plus there is little confidence loss from the loss at wasps, but this win will have really given everyone a boost. not just the result, but the satisfaction of playing some great rugby.
This is the first time in several years I have felt confident enough to say we are playing decent and enjoyable rugby to watch, there is still a long way to go but if things carry on how they are going it would be great to see Bath at the Guinness Premiership Final... Just think Bath vs Gloucester Final... or Bath vs Leicester Final... what a final... back to the good ole days
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