Challenge Cup: Gloucester seal qualification while Worcester stay in the hunt

Date published: January 22 2022 - Planet Rugby

Gloucester continued their fine form this season by scoring 10 tries in a 68-19 demolition of Perpignan on Saturday.

The French sides don’t traditionally take this competition seriously, especially when they play away from home, and it showed as the Cherry and Whites dominated throughout.

The visitors’ lack of intensity and physicality, combined with the strong team George Skivington decided to field, made it easy for the hosts throughout.

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Captain Lewis Ludlow, Kyle Moyle, Jordy Reid, Santi Socino and Mark Atkinson all crossed in the first half, with Adam Hastings adding conversions for each try, to leave the Cherry and Whites 35-14 in front at the interval.

Reid’s second try of the match early in the second half further extended Gloucester’s lead before Nino Seguela’s superb reply for Perpignan provided a rare moment of joy for the French side.

However, further scores from Stephen Varney, Jack Singleton, Chris Harris and Louis Rees-Zammit wrapped up a resounding win which allowed Gloucester to close the gap on pool leaders Lyon.

Worcester ease past Zebre

Worcester claimed their first win of the European Challenge Cup by beating Zebre Parma 36-26 in Italy in their final pool fixture.

The Warriors were beaten by Newcastle and Toulon either side of a cancelled clash with Biarritz in Pool A but are still in with a shot of reaching the knockout stages after running in five tries against Zebre.

Billy Searle kicked 11 points and scored his side’s second try, while Niall Annett touched down twice and Tom Howe and Ted Hill also crossed.

Zebre, who trailed 19-14 at half-time, were under the leadership of new head coach Emiliano Bergamaschi for the first time and scored four tries of their own, but it was not enough to earn a first win of the season in any competition.

Erich Cronje, Giovanni D’Onofrio, Jacopo Trulla and Enrico Lucchin went over for the Italians, with Tim O’Malley kicking two conversions.

Worcester now sit second in their pool, level on points with third-placed Newcastle and one ahead of fourth-placed Biarritz, who will be at home to Zebre and Toulon respectively in their final matches in April. Only the top three are guaranteed a place in the next round.