Gloucester scores crucial away win
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Gloucester put in a terrific second half performance to pick up a vital 27-19 away victory against Exeter Chiefs in a Pool Two match on Saturday.
The home side started on top, forcing a turnover from a Gloucester scrum and quickly gained field position. Santiago Cordero jinked his way past two men before finding Steenson, who hit Don Armand.
He was able to lay a dummy pass, beating the final defender and dive over the try line. Steenson could not slot over the conversion in tricky kicking conditions.
Exeter continued to dominate territory and possession, but the home side lost the ball, giving Ollie Thorley the chance to find a gap in the Exeter line, running fully 70 metres before Alex Cuthbert dragged him down. Captain Willi Heinz was there for the simple offload and try.
No more points were scored until just before the interval, when Gloucester’s Danny Cipriani slotted over the first successful penalty kick in an attritional first half.
Seconds after the restart, Nic White beat three Gloucester defenders and despite pressure, did enough to slide over the try line and dot down. Steenson, who had been very quiet to that point, slotted over the conversion to give Exeter the lead.
As soon as Exeter took the lead though, they conceded a kickable penalty and Cipriani made no mistake. The match seemed to turn on that kick as Gloucester went on to dominate the final 30 minutes.
Patience was eventually rewarded for the away side who worked the hands really well and Jaco Visagie was on the shoulder to battle his way over the try line. A crucial conversion was made from Cipriani, giving Gloucester a two-score lead.
The away side then won several penalties inside the Exeter 22, eventually launching a powerful maul that was brought down two metres out. But that didn’t concern Ben Morgan, who picked and battled his way over the try line, with replacement Billy Twelvetrees nailing what can only be described as a delightful conversion from the sideline.
Exeter then went over themselves after a driving maul was executed to perfection, with Tom Lawday the man to fall over the try line, but it proved to only be a consolation as Gloucester held on for victory.
The two sides will do battle again next Friday at Kingsholm Stadium.
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) December 8, 2018
For Exeter Chiefs:
Tries: Armand, White, Lawday
Cons: Steenson 2
Tries: Heinz, Visagie, Morgan
Cons: Cipriani 2, Twelvetrees
Pens: Cipriani 2
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Alex Cuthbert, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Nic White, 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Don Armand, 6 Sam Skinner, 5 Dave Dennis, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Jack Yeandle (captain), 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Tom Francis, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Tom Lawday, 21 Stu Townsend, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Ian Whitten.
Gloucester: 15 Tom Hudson, 14 Matt Banahan, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Willi Heinz (captain), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Freddie Clarke, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Josh Hohneck.
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker, 17 Val Rapava Ruskin , 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Jason Woodward.
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant referees: Maxime Chalon (France), Jean-Luc Rebollal (France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)