Gloucester hold on to keep road record intact
LONDON WELSH 25 GLOUCESTER 31
GLOUCESTER remain unbeaten on the road following their second away win after a tight and nervous finish at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford.
Having led for the whole match, the Cherry and Whites found themselves four points down with 16 minutes to go before Shaun Knight’s late try sealed it.
It keeps Nigel Davies’ men unbeaten in their last four matches, with a nice West Country derby with old rivals Bath to look forward to at Kingsholm on Saturday.
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Freddie Burns gave his side the lead with a fifth-minute penalty when Gloucester had a man taken out in the lineout after just five minutes.
Counterpart Gordon Ross had the chance to level things up with a shot of his own three minutes later but he was wide.
However, the Scotsman did not need another invitation on 11 though when he was given another chance to level up, which he made no mistake with.
But Burns gave his side the lead once more two minutes later with another penalty before the exciting fly-half created his team’s first score.
The young ten burst out of his 22 and went a full 60 metres before a Gloucester player was held back in the tackle resulting in a yellow card for Welsh wing Nick Scott.
The visitors took it quickly and spun it wide for Shane Monahan to dot down in the corner but Burns could not improve it for 11-3.
Straight from the restart though Welsh earned a penalty which Ross cut into the lead with on 18 minutes for 11-6 before the visitors’ second try.
Gloucester pounded the Welsh line and Burns had a go before impressive lock Tom Savage squeezed through to score on 28 minutes with his fly-half’s kick making it 18-6.
Away prop Rupert Harden was penalised at a scrum four minutes later and Ross punished them to pull back within nine yet again on 32 minutes.
Gloucester could not shake off their opponents despite their dominance and Burns missed another shot at goal three minutes before the break.
Welsh finished the first half strongly though and were just held up near the Cherry and Whites' posts before starting the second period in the same fashion.
Their endeavour was rewarded when they camped near Gloucester’s try-line before spinning the ball out and as Burns attempted a tackle, the ball ricocheted off his hand accidently.
The referee adjudged it to be deliberate and sent the stand-off to the bin while Ross easily converted from in front of the sticks on 43 minutes.
With Burns off the field, Billy Twelvetrees stepped into his shoes and smartly kept play down the other end and booted a penalty three minutes later to stretch nine clear again.
Burns returned as Ross nibbled into the advantage once more with another penalty on 55 minutes before the home team took the lead for the first and only time in the contest.
A good rolling maul went right up the heart of the away team’s defences before the forwards pounded it up with a number of pick and goes dragging loosehead prop Franck Montanella over.
Ross’ simple conversion made it 22-21 on the hour before he extended that further with another three-pointer on 64 to make it 25-21.
It looked as though Gloucester were on the verge of throwing it away but they remained patient with Burns making it a one-point game with a penalty of his own on 66.
Then came the decider though after Welsh had tried their best to find a way through with their pocket-rocket pack.
The ball spilled out of the tackle and Burns fired it wide for James Simpson-Daniel at halfway who shot down the sideline and passed inside.
Replacement Henry Trinder was dragged down five metres short of the line but the ball was recycled and spun out for Knight to dummy and cut through and score.
Burns did well to push six clear with the kick and Gloucester could have grabbed a four-try bonus at the end with a five-metre scrum but Burns had the final word by opting to prod out.
London Welsh: Seb Jewell; Tom Arscott, Sonny Parker (MacKenzie, 19), Hudson Tonga'uiha, Nick Scott; Gordon Ross (Davis, 74), Tyson Keats (Runciman, 74); Franck Montanella (Bristow, 63), Neil Briggs (George, 12), Paulica Ion (Joly, 53); Jonathan Mills, Matt Corker; Daniel Browne (Kulemin, 74), Michael Hills, Ed Jackson (To’oala, 40). Replacements: Dan George, Tom Bristow, Arthur Joly, Kirill Kulemin, Alfie To'oala, Nick Runciman, Ryan Davis, Phil MacKenzie.
Gloucester: Rob Cook, Shane Monahan, Billy Twelvetrees, Mike Tindall (Trinder, 62), James Simpson-Daniel, Freddie Burns, Dan Robson (Lewis, 62), Nick Wood (Murphy, 65), Tommaso d'Apice (Britton, 58), Rupert Harden (Knight, 58), Tom Savage, Jim Hamilton, Peter Buxton (Evans, 48), Akapusi Qera, Sione Kalamafoni. Replacements: Koree Britton, Dan Murphy, Shaun Knight, Will James, Gareth Evans, Dave Lewis, Henry Trinder, Martyn Thomas.