Gloucester v Bristol
Gloucester cruise to victory at Kingsholm
November 21, 2008
Gloucester full-back Olly Morgan opened the scoring following a scything break
© Getty Images
Gloucester blasted their way to second place in the Premiership with a five-try victory over Bristol in their West Country derby at Kingsholm.
The hosts scored tries through Olly Morgan, Peter Buxton (two), Alex Brown and Ryan Lamb in a one-sided romp. Bottom-placed Bristol meanwhile had to make do with a late touchdown from David Lemi.
In a week when Bristol asked for investors to come forward and plough in excess of £2million into their coffers, Gloucester were able to field an embarrassment of riches even on a Test-match weekend.
Cherry and Whites boss Dean Ryan named no less than nine internationals in the starting side with another four - including Olly Barkley and Lesley Vainikolo - on the bench.
And, although Bristol fought bravely in the first quarter of an hour, they were always likely to be outgunned by the more powerful home side. Fly-half Adrian Jarvis kicked an early penalty for Bristol after Gloucester were penalised 30 metres out from their posts, but it was only a rare appearance in the home 22.
By half-time, Gloucester were bearing down on a try bonus point already as they led 25-3, and could have had more had it not been for some brave defending and a couple of unforced mistakes.
Two of the three first-half tries they scored, however, were outstanding as first full-back Morgan finished off a move across the back division to the left touchline by cutting back inside and leaving ex-England number eight Dan Ward-Smith floundering in the floor.
Then a quick lineout throw to the front on half-way saw scrum-half Dave Lewis burst 40 metres and within range before unselfishly putting the ball inside for flanker Buxton, in support, to barge over.
Buxton also finished off another movement, this time on the right touchline, where number eight Luke Narraway - who toured New Zealand in the summer with England - gave a neat scoring pass to his flanker.
And, with fly-half Lamb keeping the scoreboard ticking over with a penalty, 30-metre drop-goal and two conversions, it was looking like a long evening for the visiting Memorial Stadium side. Former England scrum-half Shaun Perry, who changed things around when he came on against Northampton last Sunday and helped Bristol get their only Premiership victory of the season so far, came on at the interval for Scotsman Graeme Beveridge and immediately gave the visitors some impetus.
It stemmed Gloucester's momentum for 10 minutes and put them within scoring range on occasions. However, for all the hard metres that Bristol gained, a bruising tackle in midfield and a handling mistake under pressure kept them frustrated.
And the bonus point came for Gloucester just before the hour when an attack involving Mike Tindall, who nearly got over, saw the ball reach the outstanding Narraway near the posts and he sent lock Brown over.
It did not help Bristol either that centre Ed Barnes threw a wild pass on half-way which was intercepted by Lamb to race 50 metres under the posts, making his own conversion simple.
There was some crumbs of comfort for the visitors to take on the short drive home when wing Lemi sprinted in at the left corner, and Barnes booted a brilliant touchline conversion.
Gloucester: Morgan, Balshaw, Tindall, Allen, Watkins, Lamb, Lewis, Wood, Azam, Forster, James, Brown, Buxton, Satala, Narraway.
Replacements: Vainikolo for Morgan (40), Barkley for Allen (58), Pasqualin for Lewis (69), Titterrell for Azam (58), Young for Forster (65), Eustace for James (58), S. Lawson for Narraway (65).
Sin Bin: Vainikolo (74).
Bristol: L. Arscott, T. Arscott, Brew, Barnes, Lemi, Jarvis, Beveridge, Clarke, Regan, Crompton, Winters, Sidoli, To'oala, El Abd, Ward-Smith.
Replacements: Robinson for L. Arscott (58), Eves for Jarvis (58), Perry for Beveridge (41), Linklater for Regan (58), Bracken for Crompton (65), Sambucetti for Winters (65), Grieve for To'oala (65).
Referee: Andrew Small (RFU).