Cherry and Whites five try feast
Gloucester triumph over Tigers
Gloucester 36 Leicester 13
Friday, 16 November 2018, 1745hrs
'As good as it gets', just about sums up the Cherry and Whites performance in overpowering Leicester with a scintillating five try demolition job.
True the Tigers were without their current England contingent but no one should forget the considerable raft of injured absentees from the Gloucester ranks.
The physicality and power of the Gloucester pack, backed up by the invention and pace of the backs was just too much for the visitors to contain.
The hosts were the first to get on the scoreboard with a long range penalty from Danny Cipriani which went over off the upright before Joe Ford levelled the scores with a straightforward penalty.
However thee influential Cipriani began to run the show allowing Mark Atkinson to split the visitors' defence to send Jason Woodward over for the first try, well converted from wide out by Cipriani.
Ford did get a second penalty but Gloucester looked the more positive and creative side as pack pressure and a succession of forward drives created an overlap for wing Matt Banahan to dive over.
Leicester's difficulties continued as they lost flanker Guy Thompson who was stretchered off with a leg injury before more forward power from Gloucester saw prop Fraser Balmain force his way over from close range for their third try to set up a deserved 22-6 half-time lead.
With the second-half come backs by the Tigers to win tight matches fresh in the mind the interval question was could Gloucester prevail?
However the momentum was with the hosts as a sharp move enabled winger Ollie Thorley to break clear and score the bonus-try before another well worked backs move sent Woodward over but the try was ruled out by a forward pass.
Leicester upped their game and Mike Williams finished off a series of driving mauls to take the score to 29-13.
Gloucester's defence was hard pressed as the visitors tried to reduce the arrears but when they lost ball deep in Gloucester territory Ben Morgan was on hand to break clear with an outrageous side step to find Ollie Thorley who streaked off on a mazy weaving run leaving would be tacklers clutching at thin air to cross the line for his second try of the match and the team's fifth. Twelvetrees added the extras.
After the debacle of the loss to Harlequins this was an outstanding team Premiership performance from the Cherry and Whites in what was probably their best showing in recent years. Now they have to do a similar task in the forthcoming matches against Exeter and Worcester!
More from Mike
If Gloucester Rugby were a lager it would be Carling. Probably the best Cherry & White performance in the last 3/4 years.
A solid 80 minutes of high octane rugby, with every player contributing to an outstanding performance. Tigers fans will point to the fact that they had 11 players out for various reasons, but Glos had 14 players unavailable. A well deserved victory for the Cherry & Whites, which showed what might be in the coming weeks.
Social media is full of comments about Thorley, Cipriani and Morgan being England players; I personally wish them all the best but hope that a certain Mr E Jones has lost his Sat Nav and never comes to Gloucester again. Seriously though, on this performance these 3 players have to be in Mr Jones's thoughts for the 6 Nations.
This could be the start of a great season but we will have to perform well at Exeter next Saturday and avoid the banana skin of a resurgent Worcester side the following week.
Onward and upwards at Sandy Park next week.
Gloucester - - Performance Rating 80%
1. Jason Woodward; 14. Matt Banahan, 13. Billy Twelvetrees, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Ollie Thorley; 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Willi Heinz;
1. Josh Hohneck, 2. James Hanson, 3. Fraser Balmain; 4. Tom Savage, 5. Ed Slater (capt); 6. Gareth Evans, 7. Jaco Kriel, 8, Freddie Clarke
16.Henry Walker, 17. Kyle Traynor, 18. Ciaran Knight, 19. Gerbrandt Grobler, 20. Ben Morgan, 21. Callum Braley, 22. Henry Trinder, 23. Tom Hudson
Unavailable for selection:
Ruan Ackermann, Gareth Denman, Ruan Dreyer, Lloyd Evans, Lewis Ludlow, Franco Marais, Tom Marshall, Paddy McAllister, Jake Polledri, Will Safe, Charlie Sharples, Ben Vellacott, Owen Williams
Referee: Ian Tempest
Tries: Thorley (2), Banahan, Balmain, Woodward
Con: Cipriani (3) Twelvetrees