Gloucester Rugby still unbeaten on the road - but only just
WORCESTER WARRIORS 16 GLOUCESTER 16
THIS game went every which way: and Gloucester failed to win because they were too loose.
Too ragged in midfield once again, and too inaccurate with the ball in hand.
The forward dominance that had punctuated victory at London Irish and the latter stages of Northampton defeat was not to be found again at Sixways.
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Henry Trinder’s 65th minute try should have defined this game.
But Gloucester failed to capitalise on that score, allowing Worcester almost immediately back into the clash.
Billy Twelvetrees and Jonny May worked Irish wing Monahan a yard along the right touchline, and the powerful former Rotherham man blasted from halfway into the Worcester 22.
Smart support from Trinder allowed the clever centre to take Gloucester into a 13-6 lead.
After a niggly and ugly contest, that should have been enough to see Gloucester.
But Nigel Davies’ men lost their fleeting poise.
Josh Drauniniu flew down the right wing, Joe Carlisle and Andy Goode’s fake runaround bamboozled the visiting defence, and replacement prop James Currie bundled home.
Gloucester could not steady, and Goode slotted a potential match-winning penalty on 79 minutes – at least that’s what the Sixways collective expected.
The Cherry and Whites pack had other ideas though.
Demolishing a Worcester scrum in the final minute, Gloucester won a fine penalty – and replacement Burns did the rest.
A draw snatched from the jaws of defeat – when defeat was odds-on as the fruit of failing to defend a lead.
No doubt Gloucester left Sixways circumspect, but when they analyse this harshly, even they will admit they never had enough control to justify victory.
Goode and Twelvetrees missed two penalties apiece, with Joe Carlisle missing one to boot.
Gloucester failed to take advantage of Goode’s 38th-minute yellow card for tugging back Trinder; so much so that Worcester emerged from that ten minutes three points to the good.
At half-time Gloucester were ruing a late chance missed, when James Simpson-Daniel failed to hold an admittedly loose pass on the blindside after a fine driving maul left Worcester’s line at his mercy.
Try-saving tackles from Jonny May and Simpson-Daniel kept Gloucester in the game, after the Cherry and Whites’ midfield alignment once again deserted them.
For all Gloucester’s early progress under Nigel Davies that central defensive line remains too ragged too often.
Only last-ditch recoveries kept the visitors in the contest.
May hauled down the Warriors’ break after a fine Chris Jones break, and Simpson-Daniel accounted for Alex Grove after Matt Kvesic strolled through a porous midfield.
Henry Trinder’s timely intercept just off his own line allowed the Cherry and Whites to clear, and cling to a foothold in the contest.
Gloucester ought to have profited from Goode’s sin-binning as the Kingsholm men found a late charge at the tail of the first half.
Even after Simpson-Daniel’s chance went begging Gloucester still found themselves with an attacking five-metre scrum.
Morgan drove off the base with power – but failed to recycle, was pinned in by the home defence and conceded a penalty for holding on.
That was that for the half, and a big opportunity missed after helter-skelter defending for much of the opening period.
More of the same was to follow after the break, before Gloucester wrestled and relinquished slender advantage.
Frustrations for both sides at the conclusion then: but for Gloucester, six points from two consecutive away games is a pretty decent haul.
Restore winning ways at Kingsholm against Wasps and Davies will have located even keel.
WORCESTER: Tries: Currie (71). Cons: Carlisle (71). Pens: Goode (14, 79), Carlisle (42).
GLOUCESTER: Tries: Trinder (65). Cons: Burns (65). Pens: Twelvetrees (3, 21), Burns (80).
WORCESTER: C Pennell, N Walker (J Drauniniu, 60), A Grove (J Matavesi, 72), J Carlisle, D Lemi, A Goode, S Perry (J Arr, 60), M Mullan (C Jones, 66), A Lutui (O Hayes, 72), J Andress (J Currie, 66), J Percival, D Schofield (capt) (C Gillies, 59), C Jones, S Betty, M Kvesic (S Taulava, 56).
GLOUCESTER: J May, S Monahan (R Cook, 74), H Trinder, M Tindall (F Burns, 54), J Simpson-Daniel, B Twelvetrees, D Robson (D Lewis, 60), N Wood (D Murphy, 60), H Edmonds (D Dawidiuk, 60), R Harden (S Knight, ), W James (S Kalamafoni, 66), J Hamilton (capt), T Savage, A Hazell (A Qera, 54), B Morgan.
REFEREE: JP Doyle.