Electric Thorley sows panic in Worcester ranks
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