Tom de Glanville stakes England claim as Bath consign Gloucester to worst league run

Tom de Glanville of Bath Rugby dives for the Gloucester Rugby try-line to score his team's third try during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Bath Rugby and Gloucester Rugby at The Recreation
Tom de Glanville crossed twice for Bath - Getty Images/Patrick Khachfe

Bath 17 Gloucester 10

It took the offspring of a former England captain to get Bath over the line. Tom de Glanville, son of Phil, scored two of the hosts’ three tries as Bath moved back into the Premiership top four with a narrow victory over struggling West Country rivals Gloucester.

The result came down to the final play, with Gloucester searching for a length-of-the-field try to avoid their worst ever run of defeats in the English top flight. The nails would not stop being bitten until Will Muir, the scorer of Bath’s other try, came up with the pivotal turnover on halfway. The sense of relief was palpable; so, too, the anxiety. Alfie Barbeary, the No 8 who came on as a second-half replacement, could not help but empty his guts all over the pitch. As if it needed extra moisture after this week’s downpours. Bath by name, and the pitch almost matched it in nature this week.

“I don’t know what Alfie was doing last night, but he wasn’t with me!” joked De Glanville. “On a personal note, it was brilliant. I’m always working on my speed and a key thing has been staying injury-free. Playing helps confidence, which is 90 per cent of it.”

Johann van Graan, Bath head of rugby, added: “At training, on Friday, the whole pitch was underwater. It was a real club effort to make sure the game went ahead. We even had the fire brigade in to help us pump water.”

It was De Glanville, in front of England coaching trio Steve Borthwick, Tom Harrison and Richard Hill, who was the difference. The 24-year-old, yet to be capped but an England U18 and U20 representative, was one of only four survivors from the much-changed starting XV that lost last week at Leicester. Van Graan returned to his first-choice selection for the home derby. It was a gamble that just about paid off, and the decision to retain De Glanville paid dividends. The wing-cum-full-back bagged a brace and was Bath’s outstanding player both at Welford Road and at the Rec, with his second-half mazy run ending in a decisive try.

Steve Borthwick, England Rugby Head Coach watches on during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Match between Bath Rugby and Gloucester Rugby at the Recreation Ground on 7 January 2024
Steve Borthwick was on hand to assess the players ahead of naming his Six Nations squad - PPAUK/Tom Sandberg

The nine consecutive league losses that Gloucester have suffered now equates to their worst ever league run, with the pressure firmly on George Skivington. But for large parts of this match they had Bath flummoxed and flustered, admittedly in what was a low-quality affair. Both teams were, in fairness, hit by late changes, with internationals Sam Underhill and Louis Rees-Zammit (migraine), for Bath and Gloucester respectively, dropping out of the replacements and Fraser Balmain and Kirill Gotovtsev swapping for the visitors before a whistle had even been blown.

“There is context around everything,” said Skivington, Gloucester head coach. “There’s no one not working hard and doing their best. If we had played like that all season we would be in a different part of the table. But we want to win - and we will.”

Once referee Christophe Ridley had signalled the start, however, Gloucester took the game by the scruff of the neck. Indeed, the first half will surely register as Bath’s most disjointed and ragged of the season so far, with the team tuned into about 10 different wavelengths.

Gloucester should have been further ahead at the interval. As it was, they held a five-point lead thanks to a Ruan Ackermann try and an Adam Hastings conversion and penalty. Ackermann’s score came off the back of the cutest tap-penalty move, with Zach Mercer - against his former club - turning his back and slipping a subtle pass for Ackermann to plough over.

Before Hastings had added three, the hosts did manage a score of their own - after an absurd period of kick tennis. De Glanville’s sleight of hand sent Muir haring down the left, with the wing linking up with his full-back inside to finish off.

Bath were never going to be as disjointed for another 40 minutes and the hosts proved it instantly. Muir slid an awkward kick down the touchline which nutmegged Caolan Englefield, with the wing scooping up the loose ball to score. After Santiago Carreras had been sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on, De Glanville’s solo effort kept Bath’s home record intact - they have only lost once at home in the league in nearly 12 months - with Muir having his moment as the hosts held on.

Match details

Scoring sequence: 0-5 Ackermann try, 0-7 Hastings con, 5-7 De Glanville try, 5-10 Hastings pen, 10-10 Muir try, 12-10 Russell con, 17-10 De Glanville try.

H-T: 5-10

Bath: T de Glanville (Harris 71); J Cokanasiga, O Lawrence, C Redpath, W Muir; F Russell, B Spencer (c); B Obano (Du Toit 57), T Dunn (Annett 57), W Stuart (Griffin 71), E Stooke (Roux 71), C Ewels, GJ van Velze (Cloete 65), M Reid, J Coetzee (Barbeary 48).

Replacements unused: Carr-Smith.

Gloucester: S Carreras; J May, C Harris, S Atkinson (Llewellyn 73), O Thorley; A Hastings, C Englefield (Varney 65); M Vivas (Ford-Robinson 58), G McGuigan (Blake 68), K Gotovtsev (Balmain 65), F Clarke (Jordan 68), M Alemanno, R Ackermann (Clement 65), L Ludlow (c), Z Mercer.

Replacements unused: Evans.

Yellow card: Carreras 58

Referee: C Ridley

Attendance: 13,943

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 1 month, then enjoy 1 year for just $9 with our US-exclusive offer.