Burns stands up to the heat as United claim win
A MATURE cameo from 18-year-old Billy Burns ensured Gloucester ground past Sale Jets 20-12 in A League action at Kingsholm.
The Burns brothers are primarily known for their attacking flair, but on Monday night in driving rain, the younger of Gloucester's two sibling playmakers turned the screw on the tactical front.
The second-half replacement fired a fine line-kick from 22 to 22, forcing Sale onto the back-foot.
Not content with that, he charged down Jets full-back Charlie Ingall as he laboured to clear.
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Two lineouts and a series of drives later, flanker Matt Cox had the night's decisive try.
Once-again impressive trialist scrum-half Brad Field claimed Gloucester's other score, in a composed and competent victory for Andrew Stanley and Rob Thirlby's men.
Sale scored either side of half-time through Mike Haley and Tom Cruse, but the Cherry and Whites were always in control.
After last week's 82-0 Worcester cakewalk, Gloucester had to battle home in their second A League clash – but the strong line-up and dogged approach once again underlines renewed determination to succeed in this competition.
Just nine weeks after joining Gloucester, full-back Rob Cook found himself back at Cornish Pirates on a dual-registration loan deal at the weekend.
The 28-year-old slotted the winning penalty in the Pirates' 19-17 victory over Plymouth Albion on Sunday.
And just a day later he was back at Kingsholm to start at 15 for the United side.
No doubt his three missed penalties owed as much to fatigue as to the soaked conditions, but aside from that Cook was in solid form.
After a sticky start Gloucester drew first blood when Gareth Evans punched through on the blindside, popping up to the onrushing Field, who had the strength to drive home.
Cook's conversion and penalty extended Gloucester's lead, but Sale hit back through Haley after a prolonged set of tight drives.
Cliff's conversion left Gloucester just 10-7 to the good at the break, but a Tim Taylor penalty and Cox's score – that outside-half Taylor converted – secured the result.
Cruse nipped home at the death, but by then Gloucester had done enough.
GLOUCESTER UNITED: R Cook, K Done, G Boulton, T Molenaar, I Clark, T Taylor, B Field, Y Thomas, T D'Apice, D Chistolini, W Graulich, E Stooke, P Buxton (capt), M Cox, G Evans. Replacements (all used): K Britton, J Gibbons, N Selway, R Moriarty, R Langley, G Hancox, B Burns, S Hawley.
SALE JETS: C Ingall, T Harty, S James, M Jennings, M Haley, W Clif, N Fowles, R Harrison, A Croall, T Buckley, T Holmes (capt), F McKenzie, J Doyle, W Bordill, M Finnemore. Replacements (all used): J Flynn, H Hanna, G Hymes, O Parkinson, G Jacob, T Cruse, M Clark, N Crossley.
SCORERS, GLOUCESTER UNITED: Tries: Field (20), Cox (58). Cons: Cook (20), Taylor (58). Pens: Cook (24), Taylor (43).
Scorers, SALE JETS: Tries: Haley (37), Cruse (80). Cons: Cliff (37).
REFEREE: A Jackson.