Shed silenced as Bath Rugby win at Gloucester to secure LV= Cup semi-final spot
MATCH REPORT: Gloucester 5 Bath Rugby 32
Bath Rugby booked an LV= Cup semi-final spot for the second successive year after breaking their Kingsholm hoodoo with a bonus-point triumph.
The win was Bath’s first at the home of their fierce West Country rivals since 2006 and had the Cherry and Whites’ fans heading for the exits early.
Bath scored four tries and 27 unanswered points in the second half and claimed Pool 4’s qualifying spot thanks to pre-match leaders Northampton Saints’ 28-19 defeat at Exeter Chiefs later in the day.
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"That's the first time I've ever seen home fans leaving early," said first-team coach Toby Booth after the game. "It shows you the importance of the task - and the manner of the result.
"For people like [ex-Gloucester lock] Dave Attwood coming back to the club, and [Nick] Abendanon and [Matt] Banahan who have been at the club a while, it's something we can put to rest and it's another indicator of us moving forward.
"We spoke about it being important that whenever you pull on a Bath shirt - in the A League,under-20s, whoever - that you show pride in wearing it. And I think you saw a lot of that today.
"You saw the importance of the fixture to both clubs, in the teams that both put out. For us, next week's [home to Worcester in the Aviva Premiership] a big one, and the week after that - that's the nature of the business. We've won four in a row now and momentum's really important when you get into February, March time."
After Olly Woodburn's early try had put Bath ahead, Gloucester managed to get to half-time level through hooker Huia Edmonds.
But Bath ran riot in the second half, with Nick Abendanon, Mat Gilbert, Semesa Rokoduguni and Stephen Donald all touching down, and Gloucester forwards coach Carl Hogg admitted his side - knocked out of the LV=Cup before a ball had been kicked - had one eye on next week's Premiership clash with Northampton.
However, Hogg insisted the damage had been done early on - the 20 minutes spent playing a man down in the first half hitting Gloucester lungs and legs hard in the final minutes after Andy Hazell and Tom Savage were sent to the sin bin.
"Conceding 17 penalties in a game, two yellow cards, you're always going to put yourself on the back foot," said Hogg.
"Although we defended very well in the first half - at 5-5 I thought we'd weathered the storm - we spent a lot of time in our 22. That amount of work and that amount of attrition took its toll in the last 20 minutes.
"When you're asked to defend as long as we did, then the referee is going to start looking at you as a defensive side. I thought the main factor today was a lack of ability to adapt to the referees interpretation.
"We made a few changes in the last 20 minutes with a view to going up to Franklin's Gardens next week and we got to look at some young guys in that environment."
Gloucester: Cook; Sharples, Tindall (Thomas 67), Molenaar (Burns 55), Monahan; Mills, Cowan (Robson 61); Kalamafoni (Evans 67), Hazell, Buxton (Qera 61), Lokotui, Savage, Harden (Heard 69), Edmonds (Dawiduk 40), Murphy (Thomas 61)
Bath Rugby: Abendanon; Agulla (Rokoduguni 56), Banahan (Cuthbert 68), Vesty, Woodburn; Donald, Stringer (Cook 69); Skirving (Gilbert 38), Fearns, Louw, Day (Spencer 67), Attwood, Perenise (Palma-Newport 66), Webber (Batty 69), Beech (Catt 56)
Tries: Woodburn, Abendanon, Gilbert, Rokoduguni, Donald
Conversions: Vesty 2
Referee: Ian Davies.