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Kingsholm                             Zurich Premiership                              Saturday 1 December 2001
Gloucester 58 Leeds 17

CHRISTMAS came early to Kingsholm with generous gifts provided by their Yorkshire visitors which helped give Gloucester a shed full of points.
    On this showing, quite how Leeds managed to secure victories over the likes of Bath, Saracens and recently Leicester, beggars belief. Admittedly in those fixtures they had the important home advantage but against the Cherry and Whites they made so many simple mistakes, just like a schoolboy side, it is difficult to understand their success.

    With an eye on next week’s challenging trip to the Rec. Gloucester chose to field a side with an unfamiliar look about it but the team was still too strong for the error prone Premiership’s new boys.
    The Tykes were punished as Gloucester ran in four tries in each half from all over the pitch with consummate ease but few real thrills.
    Concern has been expressed that Gloucester have not created enough tries this season and have tended to rely upon the trusty left boot of the French siege gun Ludovic Mercier.
    Ludo notched up 21 points but lapses by Leeds were enough to provide the Cherry and Whites with ample early chances. Tries for Daren O’Leary, Henry Paul, Ludo, and when James Simpson-Daniel collected the fourth try, with a run from deep in the Gloucester half, it was enough to secure the vital bonus points by half time at 32-3.
    With the match effectively wrapped up Gloucester experimented behind the scrum. Ludo moved to full back, Henry Paul to fly half and Toddy to centre Leeds did then manage a try as Henry Paul was too slow with a clearance kick {shades of another high profile League star Iestyn Harris for Wales} which was charged down by Stephen Bachop who got the try. Even star League players still have much to learn in the fifteen man code. Experience is a hard school!
    Other than that, Leeds were soon out of contention thanks to even more mistakes and Bradford Bull’s winger Graham Mackay. Certainly no League star, Mackay’s off the ball spoiling and obstruction was the sorry sum total of his contribution. Young Marcel Garvey rounded him with ease to kick through and score an easy debut try.
    Mackay then twice tackled form centre Joe Ewens, without the ball, but on each occasion the home side scored tries through James Simpson-Daniel and Robert Todd.
    Gloucester’s Fijian Koli Sewabu set up the best try of the game with a searing break, dummied Mackay and Adam Eustace got the eighth try.
    In their last three home games Gloucester have scored 152 points.
    In their last three matches the Tykes have conceded 169 points.
    On this showing it will take a monumental effort to revive the Tyke’s fading fortunes, even when Springbok star Braam Von Straaten joins Leeds next week.
    As for Gloucester, much sterner tests lie ahead in the next league games with trips to Bath and Wasps.


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