Planet Rugby

Gloucester edge Wasps in thriller

25th September 2010 16:36

Share:

Tim Taylor of Gloucester is tackled by Mark van Gisbergen

Gloucester prevail: Tim Taylor of Gloucester is tackled by Mark van Gisbergen

Gloucester edged out Wasps 22-20 in an entertaining Aviva Premiership encounter played at Kingsholm on Saturday.

Nicky Robinson kick-started Gloucester's season with an inspired goalkicking performance.

The Wales international fly-half, dropped to replacement duty following last weekend's tame defeat against London Irish, kicked two late 53-metre penalties under immense pressure.

Gloucester's Samoan centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu scored a first-half try, while Tim Taylor kicked 11 points before making way for Robinson at the interval.

Wasps replied with touchdowns by Dan Ward-Smith and Joe Simpson, with Dave Walder slotting two penalties and two conversions before he missed a late, long-range penalty that would have clinched victory.

Gloucester had already lost to Exeter and Irish in recent weeks, either side of an unimpressive home win against bottom club Leeds Carnegie, but Robinson held his nerve just when it looked as though Wasps might edge the verdict.

Although the lead changed hands seven times and a late goalkicking exchange ensured a dramatic finish, the game was riddled with mistakes and dominated by referee Andrew Small's fussy officiating.

But Gloucester will not particularly care how they conjured the win, while Wasps must now reflect on a below-par opening month that has realised one victory, one draw and two defeats.

Gloucester boss Bryan Redpath reacted to the Irish loss by making six changes, including demotion to bench duty for international trio Robinson, Mike Tindall and Alex Brown.

He also paraded a new front-row unit in Nick Wood, Olivier Azam and Paul Doran-Jones, while Wasps - the last away team to win at Kingsholm on Premiership business 10 months ago - were captained by England prop and former Gloucester favourite Phil Vickery.

Walder, who masterminded Wasps' fightback win against Leicester, opened the scoring through a 45-metre penalty before his opposite number Taylor replied from much shorter range two minutes later.

Both sides possessed plenty of creative spark, rival centres Riki Flutey and Fuimaono-Sapolu proving attacking catalysts, but the opening quarter was also punctuated by poor passing and wrong options.

And given the number of errors, it was hardly surprising that frustration would kick-in at some point, a fact illustrated when Wasps' England prop Tim Payne and Gloucester number eight Brett Deacon briefly traded blows.

Their touchline dust-up quickly fizzled out, but referee Small opted to sin-bin both players before Walder rifled a drop-goal attempt wide and it remained 3-3.

Taylor's second penalty nudged Gloucester ahead, only for Wasps to strike seven minutes before half-time when Ward-Smith powered through weak defence and galloped 20 metres unopposed.

Walder converted what was a soft try from Gloucester's perspective, yet the home side remained firmly in contention when Taylor completed his penalty hat-trick before Fuimaono-Sapolu completed an impressive first-half revival.

Wasps stood off him way too long in defence, and he finished clinically, scoring a richly-deserved try that Taylor improved for a 16-10 interval advantage.

Taylor's impressive contribution ended there and then though, as he did not appear for the second period and was replaced by Robinson with Gloucester looking to exert sustained pressure on an erratic Wasps outfit.

A poor third quarter failed to produce any further scoring, but just when Gloucester looked as though they might contemplate shutting up shop, Wasps stung them with a breakaway try.

Substitute Richard Haughton created it, making ground from deep and, as Gloucester's defence frantically tried to regroup, the supporting Simpson finished off with a flourish.

Walder's conversion edged Wasps 17-16 in front, leaving Gloucester needing to rediscover their composure as their 10-month unbeaten home league record came under serious threat.

Robinson then restored Gloucester's lead, courtesy of a penalty from just inside his own half, to set up a nerve-tingling finale.

Robinson began to boss territory through his astute tactical kicking, but Flutey remained a threat, carving Gloucester open three minutes from time and setting up an attacking platform that Wasps capitalised on with a Walder penalty.

The lead though, proved short-lived as Robinson stepped up to land another huge penalty and give Gloucester a triumph they so desperately needed.

The scorers

For Gloucester:
Tries: Fuimaono-Sapolu
Cons:Taylor
Pens:Taylor 3, Robinson 2

For Wasps:
Tries: Ward-Smith, Simpson
Cons:Walder 2
Pens:Walder2

Yellow cards: Deacon (Gloucester-22min), Payne (Wasps-22min)

Gloucester: 15 Charlie Sharples, 14 James Simpson-Daniel, 13 Tim Molenaar, 12 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, 11 Lesley Vainikolo, 10 Tim Taylor, 9 Rory Lawson (capt), 8 Brett Deacon, 7 Andrew Hazell, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Paul Doran-Jones, 2 Olivier Azam, 1 Nick Wood.

Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Pierre Capdevielle, 19 Alex Brown, 20 Luke Narraway, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Nicky Robinson, 23 Mike Tindall.

Wasps: 15 Mark Van Gisbergen, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 David Lemi, 10 Dave Walder, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Dan Ward-Smith, 7 Serge Betsen, 6 Joe Worsley, 5 Richard Birkett, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Phil Vickery (capt), 2 Joe Ward, 1 Tim Payne.

Replacements: 16 Rob Webber, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Ben Broster, 19 James Cannon, 20 Andy Powell, 21 Nic Berry, 22 Ben Jacobs, 23 Richard Haughton.

Referee: Andrew Small

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821