Gloucester edge Wasps despite red card mayhem
PREMIERSHIP SATURDAY WRAP: Billy Twelvetrees’ late penalty gave 14-man Gloucester a nail-biting 20-19 victory at Wasps that lifted them off the bottom of the table.
The Cherry and Whites had to withstand the loss of Ollie Thorley to a red card in the first half but still led 17-0 at half-time at the Ricoh Arena.
It looked as though they were going to suffer yet more heartbreak when Josh Bassett’s try completed a stirring fightback from Wasps, but just for a change they emerged on the right end of a tight scoreline thanks to Twelvetrees’ 78th-minute strike.
Gloucester, who were forced into a late change at tighthead prop with Fraser Balmain making way for Jack Stanley, turned down kickable shots at goal on several occasions to try and punish Wasps’ indiscipline.
This approach paid off after 17 minutes when Argentina hooker Santiago Socino was given an armchair ride over the try line by a driving maul, with George Barton tagging on the conversion.
Wasps were looking short of confidence, but they had a man advantage after 28 minutes when Thorley was sent off for a head-on-head collision with Rob Miller, who had just taken a high ball.
However, numbers were temporarily evened up a minute later when Malakai Fekitoa was sin-binned for a needless shove on Socino during a scuffle.
Barton then kicked Gloucester further in front as the hosts continued to infringe before the visitors scored a well-crafted second try.
Captain Lewis Ludlow broke through off Twelvetrees’ pass and he moved the ball on to Willi Heinz, whose pass sent Scotland centre Chris Harris clear, with Barton’s conversion taking the score to 17-0.
Wasps were unable to trouble the scorers before the break, with the now-restored Fekitoa held up over the line in the final play of the first half.
But they gave themselves a lifeline within three minutes of the restart as Tom West carried well before his off-load sent James Gaskell crashing over from a couple of metres, Jacob Umaga adding the extras.
And it was soon game on as tighthead Jeff Toomaga-Allen produced a brilliant off-load to send Miller sprinting clear and bring the resurgent hosts back to within five points.
They came close to levelling matters when Umaga sent a well-weighted kick down the left wing that Bassett just could not gather after chasing it down.
Wasps’ pressure finally told with nine minutes left as good hands by Gabriel Oghre found Bassett on the left. He still had plenty to do but beat three in front of him to squeeze in at the corner, with Jimmy Gopperth’s conversion completing the turnaround.
There was still time for one final twist, however, as Twelvetrees kicked Gloucester to victory with a superbly-struck penalty that was earned by his forwards at the scrum.
In the other fixtures, Exeter Chiefs returned to winning ways with a 38-16 win over Bath.
Premiership champions Exeter Chiefs came from behind to beat Bath and record a first win in three games.
Meanwhile, Worcester Warriors suffered a narrow 23-24 defeat to Bristol Bears.
Bath 16-38 Exeter Chiefs
Pens: Priestland 3
For Exeter Chiefs
Tries: O’Flaherty 2, S Simmonds, S Skinner 2, Gray
Cons: J Simmonds 4
Bath: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Ruaridh McConnochie, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Will Muir, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Ben Spencer, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Taulupe Faletau, 5 Elliott Stooke, 4 Josh McNally (captain), 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Beno Obano
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Christian Judge, 19 Tom Ellis, 20 Miles Reid, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Joe Cokanasiga
Exeter: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Facundo Cordero, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds (captain), 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Sam Skinner, 4 Jonny Gray, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Innard, 1 Alec Hepburn
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Sean Lonsdale, 20 Jannes Kirsten, 21 Stu Townsend, 22 Harvey Skinner, 23 Tom Hendrickson
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant referees: Greg Macdonald & Paul Dix
TMO: Geoff Warren
Wasps 19-20 Gloucester
Tries: Gaskell, Miller, Bassett
Cons: Umaga, Gopperth
Tries: Socino, Harris
Cons: Barton 2
Pens: Barton, Twelvetrees
Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Michael Le Bourgeois, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Will Porter, 8 Tom Willis, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 James Gaskell, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Gabriel Oghre, 1 Tom West
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Nicky Thomas, 19 Levi Douglas, 20 Sione Vailanu, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Matteo Minozzi
Gloucester: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Santiago Carreras, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 George Barton, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow (captai), 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Santiago Socino, 1 Alex Seville
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker, 17 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 18 Jack Stanley, 19 Alex Craig, 20 Jack Clement, 21 Charlie Chapman, 22 Tom Seabrook, 23 Charlie Sharples
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Dean Richards & Simon McConnell
TMO: Graham Hughes
Worcester Warriors 23-24 Bristol Bears
For Worcester Warriors
Tries: Humphreys, Venter
Cons: Shillcock, Searle
Pens: Searle 3
For Bristol Bears
Tries: Naulago 3, Uren
Cons: Sheedy 2
Worcester Warriors: 15 Nick David, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Oli Morris, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Perry Humphreys, 10 Jamie Shillcock, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 GJ van Velze 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ted Hill (captain), 5 Justin Clegg, 4 Andrew Kitchener, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Beck Cutting, 1 Ethan Waller
Replacements: 16 Isaac Miller, 17 Marc Thomas, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 Joe Batley, 20 Cornell du Preez, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Billy Searle, 23 Ashley Beck
Bristol Bears: 15 Henry Purdy, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Siva Naulago, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Andy Uren, 8 Steven Luatua (captain), 7 Fitz Harding, 6 Chris Vui, 5 Joe Joyce, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Will Capon, 1 Jake Woolmore
Replacements: 16 George Kloska, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 John Afoa, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 Tiff Eden, 23 Toby Fricker
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Michael Hudson & Gareth Holsgrove
TMO: Rowan Kitt