Elec­tric Thor­ley sows panic in Worces­ter ranks

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Rugby Union - By St­ef­fan Thomas at King­sholm

Wing Ol­lie Thor­ley struck twice as Glouces­ter scored six tries against Worces­ter.

The 22-year-old was elec­tric through­out, scor­ing two tries and caus­ing panic in the Worces­ter ranks when­ever he got the ball. And Glouces­ter head coach Jo­han Ack­er­mann be­lieves he is a real dark horse to fea­ture in Ed­die Jones’ World Cup squad if he con­tin­ues his run of form.

“Ol­lie was out­stand­ing and I’m very pleased for him,” said Ack­er­mann. “He’s had his set­backs but he’s bounced back. He’s a great team man and al­ways works hard off the field.

“He’s al­ways will­ing to lis­ten and to be coached. He shows a lot of heart, which you can’t coach. It’s great for English rugby that there’s an­other winger on the rise be­cause it in­creases the tal­ent pool.

“There’s a lot of qual­ity wingers in Eng­land but if he car­ries on play­ing like he is, he’s go­ing to put a lot of pres­sure on them. If he plays well for us then he’s got ev­ery chance.”

There were also tries for James Han­son, Char­lie Sharples, Fred­die Clarke and Jaco Vis­agie while Billy Twel­ve­trees kicked six points.

All Worces­ter could muster was a try from Bryce Heem and 11 points from the boot of for­mer Scot­land in­ter­na­tional Dun­can Weir.

But as good as Thor­ley was, this game was won up front with the War­riors un­able to find a way to stop Glouces­ter’s driv­ing line-out.

It wasn’t a great start for Danny Cipri­ani who failed with a straight for­ward penalty be­fore blind­side Fred­die Clarke peeled off the line-out and off­loaded to Han­son for the first try.

The line-out was again the source of a Glouces­ter’s try with the War­riors pack be­ing driven back. The ball was spread wide to Cipri­ani who put Ja­son Wood­ward through a gap with a well­timed pass. He beat two de­fend­ers be­fore putting Sharples over at the cor­ner. But Worces­ter re­fused to throw in the towel and be­gan to grind their way back into the game with the boot of Weir bring­ing them back to within a sin­gle point at the in­ter­val.

Ack­er­man’s side struck in the early stages of the sec­ond half with Thor­ley sidestep­ping his way past two de­fend­ers to score af­ter an ex­quis­ite in­side pass from Cipri­ani. But de­spite con­ced­ing their third try the visi­tors were still within touch­ing dis­tance due to an em­bar­rass­ing miss by Twel­ve­trees in front of the posts.

Glouces­ter seized the ini­tia­tive by re­vert­ing to type as their maul moved them closer to the try line. Once the maul was stopped the ball was put through the phases with Clarke even­tu­ally muscling his way over from short range.

Worces­ter’s task be­came even tougher when Chris Pen­nell was sent to the sin-bin for a clumsy tackle in the air on Sharples.

Glouces­ter made them pay with re­place­ment hooker Vis­agie scor­ing on his de­but af­ter an­other driv­ing li­ne­out.

Their sixth try was the pick of the bunch with some lovely in­ter­play be­tween backs and for­wards giv­ing Thor­ley the plat­form to show his dev­as­tat­ing turn of pace as he turned the Worces­ter de­fence in­side to put the re­sult beyond doubt.

For­mer Su­per Rugby player Heem grabbed a late con­so­la­tion try for the visi­tors when he sliced open the de­fen­sive line af­ter hit­ting a per­fect an­gle but it was a case of too lit­tle too late for the War­riors.

“We lost the phys­i­cal bat­tle up front,” said Alan Solomons, the Worces­ter di­rec­tor of rugby.

Scores 5-0 J Han­son try; 10-0 C Sharples try; 10-3 D Weir pen; 10-6 D Weir pen; 10-9 D Weir pen; 15-9 O Thor­ley try; 20-9 F Clarke try; 22-9 B Twel­ve­trees con; 27-9 J Vis­agie try; 29-9 B Twel­ve­trees con; 31-9 O Thor­ley try; 36-9 B Twel­ve­trees con; 39-14 B Heem try; 36-16 D Weir con. Glouces­ter Wood­ward (Hud­son 73); Thor­ley, Twel­ve­trees, Wil­liams, Sharples; Cipri­ani (Trinder 66), Heinz (Bra­ley 62), Hoh­neck (Ra­pava-Ruskin 57), Hansen (Vis­agie 57), Bal­main (Knight 66), Sav­age, Slater (Mostert 72), Clarke; Mor­gan, Kriel (Polledri 58). Worces­ter Pen­nell (Shill­cock 68); Heem, Ven­ter, Mills, Adams; Weir, Heaney (Arr 55), Black (Waller 55), Sin­gle­ton (An­nett 55), Schon­ert (Mi­lasi­novich 60), Bresler, Phillips, Hill; Van-Velze (Cox 40), Wil­liams (Barry 50). Ref­eree T Fo­ley.

Glouces­ter’s Char­lie Sharples scores a try

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