ANOTHER load of visitors had to leave Kingsholm with large head aches.BEST BARGAIN BUY
Philippe’s ‘best bargain buy’, Ludo got a try and passed
300 Premiership points for the season. The Frenchman with the
big boot, has become a big hit with the Gloucester fans and with
coaching plus experience, his all-round play has developed and
improved and the popular points machine received a deserved ovation
when he was replaced.
In the previous home game Bath were on the receiving end of a nine try hammering.
This week it was the turn of Newcastle to suffer with one over the eight, as Gloucester erased the memories of the previous bad tempered Premiership league encounter in the most emphatic manner.
Last week Rob Andrew apologised for his previous outburst and unfounded allegations. This week the crowd gave him a vociferous reception, whilst the Gloucester players gave his team a good hiding.
All in all, it was not a good afternoon for Rob Andrew. There were no happy returns for him or his team as they had to endure a torrid afternoon at the hands of a fired up Gloucester team, to say nothing of the comment from The Shed!
To add insult to injury Newcastle lost England fly half Jonny Wilkinson, who was carried off for a trip to hospital with a leg injury after being collared by Junior Paramore. In all probability his loss did not alter the eventual outcome of the game but dented the Falcon’s self-belief and boosted Gloucester.
The opening exchanges of the match were littered with mistakes from poor passing and handling as first Ludovic Mercier and then Dave Walder slotted penalties.
Even before kick-off the home fans were true supporters as they chanted ‘Ollie, Ollie,’ every time Olivier Azam touched the ball, which he frequently did but soon had something more to cheer.
Joining the line Henry Paul spilled the ball, which wrong-footed the defence but Robert Todd picked up to force his way over for the first try.
Always competitive Azam and Junior won turnover ball before James Simpson-Daniel set up his England Sevens compatriot James Forrester for a try.
Gloucester’s passing improved and further scores were added. Robert Todd went off for treatment to a head injury but replacement Tom Beim looped outside a clever move with Sinbad to score.
Toddy came back to promptly and put in a strong run to link up with the ever present Jake Boer, who put Junior in under the posts.
Four first half tries meant that the Cherry and Whites were almost out of sight at 29-6 and although Newcastle’s young backs had some chances early in the second period nothing worked for them as the home side piled on the misery.
Darren O’Leary bull-dozed his way over before skipper Phil Vickery received a pass on the wing to storm in from 25 yards leaving a trail of would-be tacklers in his wake for the most popular try of the day.
Try No. 8 was scored by Henry Paul after a shaky start got better as the game went on and stepped through the Falcons tired defence in style for a sharp try. Although he now seems more at home in the full back position but at times his passing and positioning let him down and as yet he is not quite the finished article
Shed favourite Terry Fanolua finished off a rout that had the gleeful crowd giving voice to ‘Are you watching Rob Andrew?’ He probably wished he wasn't.
The final Falcon’s games for Pat Lam and Doddie Weir and the rest of the Scottish contingent were not what they would want to remember as they headed back over the border licking their wounds.
Ed Pearce had a strong, storming game, as did fellow lock the hard working Rob Fidler in a rampant Gloucester pack that spent most of the afternoon doing what it does best - going forward.
After a sluggish start the Cherry and White’s play was almost irresistible at times with forwards and backs combining impressively to eventually crush Newcastle.
The reward for the Gloucester is a Zurich Championship semi-final place but another away trip to either Sale or Wasps. If we could only take this rich seam of form away from Kingsholm, we could make a Twickenham final for the first time in nearly twenty years.
68 points against Bath, 50 at Leeds and now 60 over Newcastle at Kingsholm, plus a total of 25 tries in the last three matches are Gloucester beginning to get it right at last?