Planet Rugby

Rampant Gloucester destroy Bourgoin

15th December 2007 16:43

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Gareth Delve celebrates scoring for Gloucester v Bourgoin

Delve: Celebrates scoring one of Gloucester's six tries

Gloucester continued their impressive charge for Heineken Cup glory with another five-point haul, thanks to a 51-27 win over Bourgoin at Kingsholm on Saturday.

Wins in both of their remaining fixtures should see Gloucester through as top seeds, guaranteeing a home draw against the second of two best runners-up.

Gloucester's crucial fourth try arrived just seven minutes into the second half, ending Bourgoin's spirited resistance.

Flanker Akapusi Qera, number eight Gareth Delve and full-back Iain Balshaw claimed first-half touchdowns before Willie Walker - on as a replacement for Balshaw - dazzled Bourgoin's defence by scoring a brilliant solo try.

Fly-half Ryan Lamb amassed 26 points, including all six conversions and a 60-metre interception try, as Gloucester continued an impressive march towards the knockout stages.

Bourgoin, smashed 49-13 on their last Kingsholm visit, posted tries from wing Mathieu Nicolas, hooker Jean-Philippe Genevois and flanker Brice Monzeglio.

Fly-half Benjamin Boyet slotted two penalties and all three conversions, but Bourgoin were left to reflect on an eighth successive Heineken Cup pool stage exit.

Lesley Vainikolo, who returned to the Gloucester line-up after flying back from New Zealand following a family bereavement that meant he missed last Friday's 31-7 victory in Bourgoin, added the final home score to huge acclaim from a 12,000 crowd.

That result a week ago effectively ended Bourgoin's quarter-final hopes, and they arrived in the west country striving to avoid a 16th successive Heineken Cup away defeat.

A much-changed Bourgoin side saw former Wales international Chris Wyatt start in the second row, while Boyet took over captaincy duties.

And after a quickfire penalty contest between Lamb and Boyet that saw Gloucester lead 9-6 after 17 minutes, the Guinness Premiership leaders eased clear.

Bourgoin, who had started brightly despite having little to play for, leaked two tries in four minutes - both converted by Lamb - as Gloucester moved 23-6 ahead.

Qera claimed the opener, capitalising on centre Mike Tindall's kick into space, although Irish referee George Clancy missed a glaring forward pass by Balshaw to Lamb during the build-up.

But there was no debate surrounding Gloucester's second touchdown after sustained pressure resulted in Delve crossing wide out.

Bourgoin could have folded after suffering such a severe double setback, and matters deteriorated when lock Damien Fevre was sin-binned, yet they hit back with a breakaway try by Nicolas that Boyet converted.

Gloucester, without hitting top gear during a lively opening period, had the final say after a brilliant Lamb pass sent Qera galloping clear and they comfortably used a gaping overlap with Balshaw cashing in for a 30-13 interval lead.

Walker's weaving break ended the game as a contest, and Gloucester entered the final quarter just six points short of a half-century after Lamb intercepted Boyet's pass and sprinted clear unopposed.

The Bourgoin forwards then mustered a concerted drive that ended with Genevois crashing over, yet Gloucester were not finished as Vainikolo rounded off another sweeping move.

Lamb's conversion - his ninth successful kick from nine attempts - meant he finished just two points short of equalling the individual Gloucester Heineken Cup scoring record of 28, held by Simon Mannix.

But Bourgoin at least finished with a flourish, utilising their forward power to further impressive effect as Monzeglio rumbled his way over.

Man of the match: So many class displays from Gloucester players but the pick of the bunch was Gareth Delve who turned in a fine ball carrying display.

The Scorers:

For Gloucester:

Tries: Qera, Delve, Balshaw, Walker, Lamb, Vainikolo

Cons: Lamb 6

Pens: Lamb 3

For Bourgoin:

Tries: Nicolas, Genevois, Monzeglio

Cons: Boyet 3

Pens: Boyet 2

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

Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 Christian Califano, 18 Marco Bortolami, 19 Alasdair Strokosch, 20 Gareth Cooper, 21 Willie Walker, 22 Leon Lloyd.

Bourgoin: 15 Florian Denos, 14 David Janin, 13 Rudi Coetzee, 12 Matias Viazzo, 11 Matthieu Nicolas, 10 Benjamin Boyet (capt), 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Wessel Jooste, 7 Mark Rennie, 6 Julien Frier, 5 Damien Fevre, 4 Chris Wyatt, 3 Olivier Sourgens,2 Jean-Philippe Genevois, 1 Arnaud Tchougong.

Replacements: 16 Benoit Cabello, 17 Karena Wihongi, 18 Julien Pierre, 19 Brice Monzeglio, 20 Rémy Mandon, 21 Nicolas Carmona, 22 Anthony Forest.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)

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