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Premiership Rugby Cup: Gloucester defeat Bathtub, plus victories for Exeter and Harlequins

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Jake Polledri scores for Gloucester
Jake Polledri scored his first Gloucester try since 2020 after returning from a long-term injury

Gloucester held off a youthful Bath side 29-15 to maintain their winning start to the Premiership Rugby Cup.

A Tom Doughty try and a George Worboys penalty gave Bath a narrow three-point lead at half-time.

Jake Polledri’s try kept the Cherry and Whites in touch, before a Jack Reeves double and score from Kyle Moyle helped Gloucester to their second cup win.

Exeter beat Bristol 35-20 while six-try Harlequins denied London rivals Saracens a comeback to win 40-31.

Gloucester fielded a more experienced side at the Recreation Ground than Bath, with England winger Jonny May and captain Lewis Ludlow both making their first appearances this season after returning from injury.

The duo were drafted into the line-up following the cancellation of Gloucester’s upcoming Premiership match with Worcester, as head coach George Skivington looked to get his players match time.

Back-rower Polledri, who returned after almost two years out with injury in their opening match in the competition against Worcester Warriors, began the scoring with his first try since 2020.

A penalty from Worboys gave Bath confidence for a spell in possession, before academy graduate Doughtry’s try from a maul put them ahead.

However, Gloucester quickly pulled away as Ludlow and Arthur Clark helped Reeves find space two minutes after the restart to cross over and he added his second try eight minutes later.

With JJ Tonks in the bin, Moyle scored Gloucester’s third try and while replacement hooker John Stewart closed the gap for Bath, Gloucester held firm to go top of the Pool A table.

Exeter see off Bristol to remain unbeaten

Lewis Pearson scores a try for Exeter
Lewis Pearson – on a dual registration deal with Cornish Pirates – scored twice for Exeter

All three of the night’s winning teams did so having conceded the first score. After a cagey opening Bristol broke the deadlock at Ashton Gate against Exeter when Harry Rowson went over in their first real attack of the night.

Yet the Bears were quickly made to pay for repeated errors as Exeter were awarded a penalty try almost immediately for their maul being brought down.

With Bristol down to 14 men, Jack Innard scored from close range and Lewis Pearson went over after the Bears’ scrum fell apart to give the Chiefs a 21-5 lead at the break.

While captain Tom Whiteley gave Bristol hope of a comeback, it was short-lived. Pearson got his second try to secure the visitors a bonus point and Sean O’Brien followed with Exeter’s fifth from the forward pack.

Still, Bristol finished on a high thanks to two late tries from Academy centre Joe Jenkins, which reduced the gap to 15 points at full-time, while Exeter remain unbeaten in all competitions.

Quins hold off Saracens’ late comeback

Harlequins had lost to London Irish in round one of the competition and found themselves 10-0 behind to Saracens inside 16 minutes, after tries from Ollie Stonham and Ethan Lewis.

But Saracens were made to rue the two missed conversions by Manu Vuinipola when Quins started to hit back. Their first try came through prop Nathan Jibulu on his debut and another followed five minutes later from a Connor Slevin interception.

Zach Carr added their third right on half-time with a dummy to make it 21-10 at the break and the traffic continued to flow one way. Jake Murray got the hosts’ fourth to secure the bonus point; Bryn Bradley followed with another two minutes later and prop Tom Osborne made it 40-17, and the match all but over, from a maul.

Saracens did not give up and and three tries in nine minutes from Lewis, Brandon Jackson and Ben Harris dragged them within nine points to set up a tense finale, although Quins did enough to hold on.

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