Injury-hit leaders Bristol edge out basement club Gloucester

London (AFP) –


English Premiership leaders Bristol defied their own injury problems and a determined Gloucester side in an 18-17 win away to their west country rivals on Friday.

Defeat was tough on basement club Gloucester, with Argentina wing Santiago Carreras scoring two first-half tries for the Cherry and Whites at Kingsholm.

But some of Gloucester's pain from this latest defeat was eased by the knowledge that just hours earlier Premiership Rugby had announced there would be no relegation from the English top-flight at the end of this season as a result of disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ioan Lloyd's penalty five minutes from time was enough to keep Bristol top of the table, with Gloucester's losing bonus point insufficient to see them climb up the standings.

Ollie Thorley scored Gloucester's third try, while Billy Twelvetrees kicked a conversion.

Bristol's tries came from Bryan Byrne and Jake Heenan, with Lloyd adding two penalties and a conversion.

By the time Nathan Hughes limped off late on, Bristol had lost four players to injury but Lloyd's 45-metre penalty was enough to secure victory.

Friday's other match saw Bath record just their third league victory this season with a 27-22 win in sub-zero temperatures away to high-flyers Sale.