Planet Rugby

Gloucester leave the Ospreys pointless

16th November 2007 21:54

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Sonny Parker v Gloucester

All in vain: Sonny Parker rolls over for the first of the Ospreys' tries

Gloucester's Heineken Cup campaign is well on track after they beat the Ospreys 26-18 at Kingsholm on Friday, sending the Welsh packing without even a bonus point.

Gloucester have won again, as they usually do at Kingsholm, a bigger and better Kingsholm, packed with over 16,000 fans on a cold night that turned colder and wet.

It was a fine celebration of the new stand as both sides played with intensity. In the end Gloucester's intensity was greater than the Ospreys' intensity and after a first half which belonged mainly to the Ospreys Gloucester took charge and when the final whistle came they were well and truly in charge with points enough to deny their Welsh visitors even a bonus point.

Each side scored two tries, each battening off the other's mistakes.

Ospreys scored first when Gloucester tried to move the ball in their own territory. Tindall passed to his right over the head of Iain Balshaw and Nikki Walker, playing on the left wing though wearing 14, snapped the ball up. He gave to James Hook who slung a pass behind Sonny Parker. But the stocky centre stuck a hand back and pulled the ball in. Then he handed off Ryan Lamb and then Rory Lawson as he powered over for a try far out. Hook converted and the Ospreys led 7-0 after nine minutes.

When Mike Phillips tackled difficult Akapusi Qera he stayed around too long in the tackle and was penalised. Lamb goaled. 7-3 after 11 minutes.

The Ospreys nearly scored from the kick-off. Gloucester showed little interest Hook's clever kick. The ball bounced and Gavin Henson latched onto it. The next thing Jonathon Vaughton, playing on the right wing, was speeding for the corner. As Balshaw tackled him, Vaughton got the ball down in the corner but the TMO was able to advise that his right toes had nicked the touch-line before he did so. Gloucester worked their way away from the subsequent line-out.

The Ospreys stayed on the attack but failed to score. Instead the home side again goaled a penalty when Marty Holah was penalised at a tackle. 7-6 after 21 minutes.

Gloucester were to throw into the line-out but Peter Buxton closed the gap and the referee awarded a free kick to the Ospreys. They tapped and ran. Holah and Jonathan Thomas did well and again the ball got to predatory Sonny Parker, leaning forward as he powered past and through Carlos Nieto, Anthony Allen and Rory Lawson till he went over with Mike Tindall hanging onto him. It was a try of great strength and determination. 12-6 after 23 minutes.

Gloucester started doing things. Luke Narraway had a great charge. Balshaw kicked ahead and Phillips saved bravely. Then the Ospreys slapped back a Gloucester's line-out and Qera pounced on the ball striding down the field. He was tackled and Vaughton was penalised for coming in the side, even though he had been the tackler. In addition he was sent to the sin bin. Lamb goaled. 12-9. That was the half-time score which flattered Gloucester.

Early in the second half the Ospreys won a scrum and Gloucester's scored. Alasdair Strokosch won a turn-over off Holah and Allen cut back sharply to race nearly 50 metres to score at the posts. Lamb converted and after 43 minutes Gloucester led 16-12.

Ahead, Gloucester then seemed set on suicide. They conceded two penalties in quick succession - one when Strokosch tripped Lee Byrne whop was chasing an innocuous kick and another for hands in a ruck. Hook goaled sand then when Nieto was penalised at a tackle and sent to the sin bin Hook restored his side's lead. 18-16.

At this stage Chris Paterson replaced Lamb.

Hook kicked a meaningless kick and Balshaw was onto it in a flash going right inside his own half. He gave to Tindall who straightened with acres of empty land in front of him. Tindall offloaded to thefaster James Simpson-Daniel who raced down the right wing to score. Inevitably Paterson converted. 23-18 with 21 minutes to go.

Then Gloucester shut the Ospreys out. They went through phase after phase until they were penalised for holding on, and then they again went through phase after phase until Adam Jones was penalised at a tackle and Paterson made the score 26-18, taking the Ospreys out of bonus-point range.

The Ospreys had some moments when they tried to play the ball wide but the home guard was determined and intent.

Gloucester went through a grinding, relentless, attritional pick-and-go routine until the referee tipped them off that time was up and Tindall hoofed the ball out.

It was a fascinating match.

Man of the Match: Iain Balshaw was zestful. Mike Tindall was clever, Rory Lawson was energetic for Gloucester. For the Ospreys Marty Holah was energetic, Gavin Henson was clever and Sonny Parker was strong. But our Man of the Match is strong, determined number eight Luke Narraway of Gloucester who followed up his excellent performance in Belfast last week with another strong performance.

The scorers:

For Gloucester:

Tries: Allen, Simpson-Daniel

Cons: Lamb, Paterson

Pens: Lamb 3, Paterson

For the Ospreys:

Tries: Parker 2

Con: Hook

Pens: Hook 2

Yellow cards: Vaughton (40, Ospreys, professional foul), Nieto (55, Gloucester, killing the ball)

Gloucester: 15 Iain Balshaw 14 James Simpson-Daniel, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Lesley Vainikolo, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Luke Narraway, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Peter Buxton (c), 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Olivier Azam, 1 Nick Wood.

Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 Christian Califano, 18 Will James, 19 Gareth Delve, 20 Mike Prendergast, 21 Chris Paterson, 22 Olly Morgan.

Ospreys: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Gavin Henson, 11 Jonathan Vaughton, 10 James Hook, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Filo Tiatia (c), 7 Marty Holah, 6 Jonathan Thomas, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Huw Bennett, 1 Duncan Jones.

Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Paul James, 18 Alun Wyn Jones, 19 Hale T-Pole, 20 Justin Marshall, 21 Shaun Connor, 22 Mark Taylor.

NB Walker played on the left wing, Vaughton on the right, though they wore the numbers given here.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)

Touch judges: Simon McDowell (Ireland), Mark Gargan (Ireland)

Television match official: Brian Fitzgerald (Ireland)

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