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

Gloucestershire Echo - - SPORTING INDEX -

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-

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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

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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.

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Ben Mor­gan cel­e­brates the win over Wasps at the fi­nal whis­tle

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