Awesome Azam bags a brace to set up bonus win
Kingsholm Zurich Premiership Friday 23 November 2001
Gloucester 43 Wasps 13
LAST WEEK Gloucester produced another poor performance and lost at Newcastle by 2 points.KICKING DUO
Ludovic Mercier and Henry Paul made them pay for their mistakes as they shared the place kicking duties to suit their left and right footed kicking styles.
Ludo added a long range drop goal and at half time Gloucester were firmly in control at 23-6.
Last week Wasps trounced Leeds 64-14 in London.
This week Gloucester brushed aside their London visitors thanks to the efforts of a dominant pack.
Nothing can make up for events in the past but last season Wasps inflicted a record 28-3 home league defeat upon Gloucester. This time the boot was very much on the other foot.
Wasps injury problems have been well chronicled this season but no one should lose sight of the fact that their front five on display at Kingsholm were all experienced internationals.
Gloucesterís front five may not boast the same array of caps but they took the Londoners apart in a truly inspiring display of forward power.
It was not all plain sailing for the Cherry and Whites as they struggled to get their line-out on song. In marked contrast Gloucester old boys Phil Greening and Ian Jones worked well at the line out. Greening even threw in straight !
However in the scrums and in the loose it was a very different story as the Wasps struggled against a Gloucester pack that was on full song .
No one more so than Olivier Azam.
The French hooker was truly immense with a pugnacious performance. He scored two fine tries, one within minutes of the start and a second after a half hour, with unstoppable charges.
The sight of him taking two Wasps forwards over the line with sheer strength was truly awe inspiring.
With their lack of confidence Wasps looked like a side in decline and made far too many basic errors.
After the break Wasps did raise their game and scored a try within ten minutes but the Gloucester eight soon re-established control to snuff out any thoughts of a Wasps fight back.
Thanks to Ludoís kicking Gloucesterís score was soon rattling along again as he hammered over another drop goal and a penalty.
Despite the amount of territory and possession Gloucester secured, the backs were unable to work any tries. Too many miss-moves by-passed the classy Henry Paul in the centre More work for Paul Turner!
Referee Dave Pearson retired with an injury to be replaced by Nigel Yates-not known for doing Gloucester any favours-and as usual he managed to upset the crowd with some of his decisions.
Robert Todd did get over but the try was disallowed for crossing and a seemingly good score by super sub Mark Cornwell suffered the same fate from an adjudged forward pass. A distinctly dubious decision.
In the unaccustomed position of full back Robert Todd gave a fine display for the home side and Darren OíLeary provided some telling touch finders.
Despite picking up a couple of knocks Andy Gomarsall had a good game at scrum half and looked sharp and resourceful
Unlike the Newcastle game Gloucester finished strongly, keeping up the pressure on the Wasps back three. Captain Jake Boer went over from close range.
Referee Yates redeemed himself at the end when he awarded the home side a penalty try. After a period of sustained Gloucester pressure Ian Jones deliberately knocked on under the posts for the bonus point try. The Kingsholm crowd, the largest of the season, went home happy.