Planet Rugby

Gloucester snatch empty victory

30th November 2007 21:51

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Olly Morgan Richard Mustoe Gloucester Dragons

Muddy End: Richard Mustoe attempts to get past Olly Morgan

Gloucester left it late for a second successive weekend before claiming a 13-11 victory in the EDF Energy Cup over the Dragons at Rodney Parade on Friday.

But the win, achieved by a late Gareth Delve try and a Chris Paterson conversion was meaningless, with both teams out of the competition before the match started.

A complicated situation regarding wins and draws between the teams meant that, even if Wasps and Newcastle drew in the other group game, one or the other would go through.

So it was a case of getting through the fixture, getting some match practice and then looking towards the Heineken Cup clashes over the next two weeks.

Gloucester fly-half Willie Walker booted a 22-metre penalty inside the first few minutes but the English side then had to survive a lot of pressure as the Dragons, guided by their pack and the tactical kicking to the corners of Welsh international Ceri Sweeney, took control.

Gloucester held out well but eventually they were penalised when Sweeney was held back by the shirt when trying to put his backs away. He landed a penalty from the 22-metre line to level the scores.

And the Kingsholm side went further behind when they conceded a scrum five which eventually saw prop Adam Black drive over under a pile of bodies for the opening try.

The match livened up after the break as the rain stopped and both sides were able to throw the ball around a bit.

Gloucester came within two points of levelling when Walker landed a simple 15-metre penalty inside the Dragons' 22 - but he was soon the villain as he nearly gave away a second try for the home side.

Walker's clearance kick inside the 22 was charged down and only some desperate defence behind their own line stopped hooker Ben Daly from getting the try.

But the Welsh region soon extended their lead as Gloucester inexplicably dropped a scrum and gave Sweeney another penalty, which he landed with ease.

The visitors attacked further through the final quarter but could not break the stubborn resistance of the home team.

Eventually, though, as in the 27-25 win over Harlequins in the Guinness Premiership last week, they clinched the win at the end.

It fell to Wales international number eight Delve to go over from a scrum five on the Dragons line.

And, amid huge booing from the home crowd, Scottish fly-half Chris Paterson held his cool to boot the 22-metre conversion - to the delight of the travelling support.

The scorers:

For the Dragons:

Tries: Black

Pens: Sweeney 2

For Gloucester:

Tries: Delve

Cons: Paterson

Pens: Walker 2

Dragons: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Richard Fussell, 13 Rhodri Gomer Davies, 12 Gareth Maule, 11 Richard Mustoe, 10 Ceri Sweeney (captain), 9 Andy Williams, 8 Nic Fitisemanu, 7 Jamie Ringer, 6 Joe Bearman, 5 Peter Sidoli, 4 Adam Jones, 3 Gethin Robinson, 2 Ben Daly, 1 Adam Black.

Replacements: 16 Steve Jones, 17 Hugh Gustafson, 18 Andrew Hall, 19 Lewis Evans, 20 Paul Emerick, 21 Aled Thomas, 22 Wayne Evans.

Gloucester: 15 Olly Morgan, 14 James Bailey, 13 Leon Lloyd, 12 Ali James, 11 Mark Foster, 10 Willie Walker, 9 Mike Prendergast, 8 Gareth Delve, 7 Andy Hazell, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Marco Bortolami (c), 4 Will James, 3 Jack Forster, 2 Jeremy Paul, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.

Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 Christian Califano, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Luke Narraway, 20 Gareth Cooper, 21 Chris Paterson, 22 James Simpson-Daniel.

Referee: Dean Richards (England)

Touch judges: Bruce Robertson (England), Ashley Reay (England)

Assessor: Les Peard (Wales)

Television match official: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

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