By Ian Todd
September 15 2018

Bristol lead another Premiership match at half time only for indiscipline and a tactical rethink by the hosts to see them swamped in a second half comeback.  Bristol stuck to the current playing style that had seen a frustrated Gloucester limited to just a single penalty in the first period.  However the powerful direct running of Polledri, in particular, got Gloucester over the gainline and Bristol gave away penalty after penalty at the breakdown and the hosts were able to take full advantage of the territory and possession to overwhelm what seemed a tactically naive visiting side.

Bristol soaked up Gloucester pressure throughout much of the first half.  The well-organised defence snuffed out the threat of Cipriani and the hosts seemed increasingly frantic with ball in hand.  Bristol seized upon the opportunities that came their way and it was no surprise to see them lead 3 – 13 at half time.  Ian Madigan chip on halfway was gathered by Steve Luatua who drew the defence and promptly offloaded to Luke Morahan who sliced through into space for a well worked try. 

Bristol were perhaps fortunate not to receive a yellow card in the opening half after conceding four penalties in a few minutes, but after Gloucester had scored a try a minute into the second half George Smith was sent to the sin-bin for infringing repeatedly on the Bristol line despite several warnings from the referee.  In his absence a rejuvenated Gloucester, having worked out how to deal with the Bristol tactics, scored two straightforward tries following further Bristol transgressions. 

In fairness to Bristol they created other try scoring opportunities, with one only called back for the merest hint of a forward pass that was a great example of a practiced move almost coming off on the competitive field.  However it might be fair to characterise some of the play as reckless with a willingness to play from deep, rather than hoof the ball up field, failing to reap any rewards in the second half and instead giving Gloucester two tries of their own when the visitors coughed up possession just metres from their line.