Sending out a message Big statement from Gloucester to justify the hype
Gloucester hit back in style from the loss to Harlequins with a superb 35-21 win at Wasps ROB ILES analyses a great away success
Gloucester show top four credentials
GLOUCESTER were tipped to be serious Premiership play-off contenders before the season began and this was the sort of performance and result to justify the hype.
Beating a side the calibre of Wasps, who have finished in the top three in the last three seasons, in their own backyard was a big statement and shows what the Cherry and Whites are capable of.
To come away with a bonus point was the cherry on top.
From the moment Gloucester scored their first try through Ben Vellacott, the confidence came flowing back after that defeat against Harlequins and the belief that they could win at a ground where they have been unsuccessful on their four previous visits was evident.
They dominated the rest of the half and arguably should have been further ahead than 20-7 at the break.
Even when Wasps came back in the second half to get back to within two points, Gloucester didn’t panic and made sure they were the team to finish stronger with two tries in the final 10 minutes from Charlie Sharples and Lewis Ludlow giving the scoreline a look many fans would only have dreamed of at the start of the day.
And also a note on Gloucester’s excellent discipline with just four penalties given away.
At the end of the first Premiership block of games Gloucester are where they want to be - in the top four - and if they can continue this level of performance there is every chance they can stay there.
Danny Cipriani enjoys return to former club
THE Gloucester fly-half could not have asked for a much better return to Wasps as he was at the heart of a fine team performance.
In his first game back at the Ricoh Arena since his summer switch, Cipriani showed Wasps what they were missing as he controlled the game with intelligent kicking and as the orchestrator in the back line.
Cipriani showed he wanted to take responsibility by taking on the kicking duties and barring a late penalty miss he was on the money from the tee, racking up 15 points.
It was also his wonderful break that set up the crucial first try as he com-
bined brilliantly with impressive scrum-half Vellacott.
A great way to bounce back
THERE may have been some questions raised about quite how good this Gloucester side are after their home defeat to Harlequins but their response was superb.
There was a clear determination to put things right and set the record straight at the Ricoh Arena.
Just as Gloucester didn’t suddenly become a bad side seven days ago, they are not suddenly world beaters and there are still areas to improve.
Both sides struggled with their handling due to the earlier rain and Gloucester could even afford to cough up some big try opportunities, Matt Banahan and Jake Polledri in the first half in particular, such was their dominance.
Every team will have their off days and this was one for Wasps, while the display against Quins will at least offer a reminder to Gloucester of what can happen when they’re not on their game in a very competitive league.
Charlie Sharples continues sensational form
A HUGE positive for Gloucester this season has been the sight of Charlie Sharples back to his best and firing on all cylinders.
He already has eight tries in six games this season and appears on course to enjoy his best return in many years - could he even go on and beat the 18 he scored in all competitions back in 2010/11?
Sharples showed great support play for his first try and ran a good line through the middle after being brilliantly set up by the dancing feet of Tom Hudson, while his second was bread and butter for a winger finishing out wide.
It is not just his try-scoring that stands out though. His work-rate and defensive display against Wasps was also phenomenal, often using his pace and tenacity to get Gloucester out of trouble.
The turning point of the game was arguably when Sharples raced back to prevent Dan Robson scoring his second try in the early stages that could have left Gloucester facing a 14-0 deficit.
Forwards set the platform
ALL successful sides are built on a
strong pack and Gloucester’s ferocious front eight did not take a step back.
All of the forwards made strong carries throughout and played at an intensity that Wasps struggled to cope with. The final try finished by Lewis Ludlow was testament to that.
They were strong in the scrum with Fraser Balmain and Josh Hohneck doing a sterling job and even when 18-year-old prop Ollie Adkins, a late inclusion due to Alex Seville’s injury, came on he made an impact with a strong carry that ended with him winning a penalty.
Lewis Ludlow and Gerbrandt Grobler also excelled at spoiling the Wasps lineout.
Ben Morgan celebrates the win over Wasps at the final whistle