Gloucester's late surge down Bath
PREMIERSHIP WRAP: Owen Williams proved ice runs through his veins as he nailed an 88th-minute conversion to hand Gloucester Rugby the West Country bragging rights at Bath Rugby.
Rhys Priestland’s penalty gave his side a slender 8-5 lead at the interval after Willi Heinz and Semesa Rokoduguni traded impressive early tries.
The other fixture of the day saw Leicester Tigers made it five Premiership Rugby victories in a row with a stunning 30-13 away win at Newcastle Falcons.
Bath 21-22 Gloucester
While Rokoduguni again cancelled out Heinz in the second half to hand Bath the lead, it was a grandstand finish as the Cherry & Whites piled forwards in search of a match-winning try and up popped Ed Slater to score it with the clock deep into the red.
A packed-out Rec expected the home side to deliver the goods in their home derby, but it was the Cherry & Whites that got off to the perfect start with a try made by Henry Trinder down the short side.
The centre held the ball and released Heinz at the perfect moment, with the scrum-half throwing a dummy to fool defender Priestland.
But three England players combined beautifully to put Bath level shortly after. Jonathan Joseph produced a piece of magic to step inside and beat Owen Williams and find Anthony Watson outside him, who in turn fed Rokoduguni to finish off a superb try in the right corner.
Joseph’s grubber-kick just had too much on it for replacement Aled Brew to gather in the left corner late in the half, but Bath grabbed the lead as Priestland was successful with one penalty but missed another in the swirling wind.
The scores were level again seven minutes after the interval however as Bath were offside in front of the posts, Williams made no mistake with the penalty before some John Afoa wizardry created Gloucester’s second try.
An unbelievable offload out the back of the hand from the World Cup winner found Heinz who was there running a lovely supporting line to score.
But Priestland kept his side in touch with two more penalties as Bath began to bang on the door, and finally, a massive carry from Toby Faletau brought them up the field, and the ball was sent wide for Rokoduguni to step inside and finish with aplomb.
Six points behind with five minutes remaining, Gloucester were not down and out and surged forward in search of their first away win of the season.
And they got it with Slater stretching over deep into time added on despite some desperate Bath defence, with Williams doing the honours with the nerve-wracking conversion to seal a 22-21 triumph.
Tries: Rokoduguni 2
Pens: Priestland 3
Tries: Heinz 2, Slater
Cons: Williams 2
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Clark, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Zach Mercer, 5 Charlie Ewels (captain), 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Matt Garvey, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Josh Lewis, 23 Aled Brew
Gloucester: 15 Billy Burns, 14 Henry Purdy, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 David Halaifonua, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Willi Heinz (captain), 8 Ben Morgan 7 Lewis Ludlow, 6 Ruan Ackermann, 5 Ed Slater, 4 Tom Savage, 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Josh Hohneck
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Val Rapava Ruskin, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Jacob Rowan, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Andy Symons, 23 Ollie Thorley
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe, Paul Dix
TMO: Stuart Terheege
Newcastle Falcons 13-30 Leicester Tigers
Tries from Telusa Veainu, Ben Youngs and Jonny May cancelled out Vereniki Goneva’s try on the stroke of half-time as the Tigers leapfrogged the Falcons into the top four.
Veainu has been in scintillating try-scoring form in recent weeks and he got the ball rolling at Kingston Park – dancing past Alex Tait and Goneva for his fifth score of the season.
And the New Zealander was at the centre of the second try as he showed quick feet and good hands to lay it on a plate for Youngs who put breathing space to the scoreline.
But on the brink of half-time, a lifeline for the Falcons, as Goneva exchanged passes with Tait to crash over and reduce the deficit.
It was a sell-out crowd at Kingston Park and the huge crowd was hoping for a second-half revival from the Falcons.
But monster kick from right on the halfway by George Ford and two more from the boot of the England international kept the Falcons at bay.
The hosts continued to press hard with line-breaks by Juan Pablo Socino and Mark Wilson both being thwarted by a stubborn Tigers backline.
May has been in superb form for the Tigers since their defeats in the opening two matches of the campaign.
And he put the game beyond doubt for Matt O’Connor’s side after Ford found his England compatriot with an exquisite cross-kick on 72 minutes to dot down.
Pens: Flood 2
Tries: Veainu, B Youngs, May
Cons: Ford 3
Pens: Ford 3
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Nili Latu, 7 Will Welch (captain), 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Calum Green, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Rob Vickers
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Sami Mavinga, 18 Trevor Davison, 19 Will Witty, 20 Ally Hogg, 21 Michael Young, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Maxime Mermoz
Leicester Tigers: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Nick Malouf, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Mathew Tait, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Valentino Mapapalangi, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (captain), 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Greg Bateman, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Adam Thompstone
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Peter Allan, Hamish Smales
TMO: Sean Davey