Challenge Cup wrap: Gloucester and Grenoble win

Date published: December 10 2015

Gloucester took a firm grip on Pool 4 in the Challenge Cup with a win at Worcester while Grenoble beat Agen in Thursday's European action.

The Sixways result leaves Gloucester nine points clear in their pool while Grenoble move provisionally top of Pool 5 ahead of the weekend.

Worcester 22-34 Gloucester

Gloucester scored five tries in their 34-22 victory against Worcester Warriors as they took a stranglehold in the pool at Sixways Stadium.

The visitors opened the scoring in the ninth minute when scrum-half Greig Laidlaw sent over a penalty goal, but the lead did not last long.

Back came the Warriors and with slick handling seeing the ball moved from left to right where wing Dean Hammond finished well, Worcester claimed a 3-7 advantage after Ryan Lamb had coolly slotted the conversion. It was a well-worked try that increased the volume at Sixways.

Gloucester though silenced the crowd on 34 minutes when Henry Purdy finished strongly down the left wing, this after collecting a lovely cross-kick from inside centre Mark Atkinson. Again Laidlaw was on-target off the tee and suddenly the Cherry and Whites were back ahead.

But Gloucester were denied a half-time lead when ex-player Lamb slotted a drop-goal in added time, which meant it was 10-10 at the break.

The Cherry and Whites moved up a gear in the second stanza as a second try from Purdy and then one from replacement Rob Cook pushed them into a 22-10 lead with an hour played. Worcester were in desperate need of the next score and duly followed a spell of Warriors pressure.

That sustained possession paid off and when replacement Mike Daniels scored from the back of a maul, Lamb's extras cut the gap to 17-22.

But Gloucester hit back with an opportunistic try that was set up by Laidlaw and scored by Steve McColl, which sealed the bonus-point win before replacement Billy Twelvetrees added the gloss. Darren O'Shea's late try for Warriors came only as a consolation for the home side.

The scorers:

For Worcester:
Tries: Hammond, Daniels, O'Shea
Con: Lamb 2
Drop: Lamb

For Gloucester:
Tries: Purdy 2, Cook, McColl, Twelvetrees
Con: Laidlaw 3
Pen: Laidlaw

Worcester: 15 Ben Howard, 14 Dean Hammond, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Andy Symons, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Charlie Mulchrone (c), 8 Marco Mama, 7 Carl Kirwan, 6 Matt Cox, 5 Darren O'Shea, 4 Dan Sanderson, 3 Gareth Milasinovich, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Ryan Bower.
Replacements: 16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Val Rapava Ruskin, 18 Mike Daniels, 19 Darren Barry, 20 Sam Betty, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Tiff Eden, 23 Max Stelling.

Gloucester: 15 Steve McColl, 14 David Halaifonua, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Greig Laidlaw (capt), 8 Lewis Ludlow, 7 Jacob Rowan, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Paul Doran-Jones, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Nicky Thomas, 19 Tom Hicks, 20 Dan Thomas, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Rob Cook.

Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France)
Assistant Referees: Salem Attalah (France), Mathieu Noirot (France)
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (France)

Agen 20-40 Grenoble

Ahead of London Irish hosting Edinburgh on Saturday, Grenoble moved top of Pool 5 after beating Agen 40-20 at Stade Armandie on Thursday.

Loosehead prop Sona Taumalolo was the star of the show with a first-half hat-trick as the visitors claimed five points on the night.

Grenoble shot out the blocks against their French rivals as a try in the first minute from wing Xavier Mignot set them on their way. And the lead was doubled to fourteen points four minutes later when the impressive Taumalolo went over, with Gilles Bosch slotting the kick.

Agen managed to finally settle into the game and three points via the boot of fly-half Bautista Guemes pulled the scoreline back to 14-3.

However, Taumalolo was over again before the half-hour mark for his brace and with Bosch's extras suddenly the match looked over at 21-3.

Remarkably the former Chiefs and Racing prop claimed his third try of the half on 34 minutes, as Grenoble went in comfortable at 28-3 up.

Agen though came out for the second-half a different team and with Marc Baget, Marc Barthomeuf and Marius Deguilhem crossing in the 47th, 56th and 61st minute respectively, suddenly there was a match on at Stade Armandie as Grenoble were now only leading by 28 points to 20.

But credit to Grenoble who regrouped in the final quarter of the game as a penalty try and a second from Mignot sealed a high-scoring win.

The scorers:

For Agen:
Tries: Baget, Barthomeuf, Deguilhem
Con: Bouvier
Pen: Guemes

For Grenoble:
Tries: Mignot 2, Taumalolo 3, Penalty
Con: Bosch 4, Loustalot

Agen: 15 Benoit Sicart, 14 François Tardieu, 13 Vincent Roux, 12 Pierre Fouyssac, 11 Marius Deguilhem, 10 Bautista Guemes, 9 Paul Abadie, 8 Marc Baget, 7 Antoine Miquel, 6 Nicolas Gal, 5 Léo Bastien, 4 Jean-Baptiste Roidot, 3 Jason Marshall, 2 Jalil Narjissi, 1 Quentin Bethune.
Replacements: 16 Marc Barthomeuf, 17 Viliamu Afatia, 18 Dave Ryan, 19 Denis Marchois, 20 Corentin Braendlin, 21 Baptiste Cadiou, 22 François Bouvier, 23 Julien Heriteau.

Grenoble: 15 Armand Batlle, 14 Daniel Kilioni, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Xavier Mignot, 10 Gilles Bosch, 9 Christophe Loustalot, 8 Steven Setephano, 7 Fabien Alexandre, 6 Henry Vanderglas, 5 Mathias Marie, 4 Jonathan Best, 3 Rossouw de Klerk, 2 Laurent Bouchet, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Loick Jammes, 17 Denis Coulson, 18 Walter Desmaison, 19 Ben Hand, 20 Mahamadou Diaby, 21 Lilian Saseras, 22 Clement Gelin, 23 Nigel Hunt.

Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Simon Rees (Wales), Martyn Lewis (Wales)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)