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In this club v country battle Gloucester are the winners

By The Citizen  |  Posted: November 19, 2012

  • CHARGE: Gloucester's hat-trick hero Ben Morgan creates a crater in the London Welsh defence during Saturday's LV=Cup success

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (1)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (2)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (3)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (4)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (5)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (6)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (7)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (8)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (9)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (10)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (11)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (12)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (13)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (14)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (15)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (16)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (17)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (18)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (19)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (20)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (21)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (22)

  • Gloucester Rugby v London Welsh (23)

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CAREERING clean through the outside centre channel, Akapusi Qera's deft offload sent Shane Monahan surging deep into enemy territory.

As the stout Irishman steadied himself under a double tackle, Ben Morgan raced up from nowhere.

Staying upright just long enough, Monahan released the perfect pass to allow onrushing Morgan a clean canter to the whitewash.

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This was the bonus-point try, ahead of half-time, Morgan's second of the contest – and the clear move of the match.

Two of those involved should probably not have even been on the field.

Fijian powerhouse Qera's decision to pick club over country for the autumn series could well prove pivotal as Nigel Davies' men bid to consolidate their strong start to the new campaign.

And number eight Morgan should really have been blasting craters for England at Twickenham.

Throw in form men Freddie Burns and Billy Twelvetrees too, and Gloucester boast an ever-increasing horde of international calibre stars bossing the club stage.

The significance of Saturday's Sale Sharks clash is clear to all – but it is one half of a Premiership fortnight that will be completed with a trip to Vicarage Road to take on Saracens.

If Gloucester can retain these top-class talents, they could perhaps sneak a pivotal march in this two-week run.

Emerge from these two contests in profit, and Davies' new era really will be blazing every Kingsholm gun.

For much of Saturday's opening half Gloucester were shooting to the skies in celebration, and eyeing up a one-way rout.

That mouth watering Morgan try ought to have proved the defining swipe of a no-contest fight.

Instead Gloucester's errant third quarter plugged London Welsh's leaky defence, the home side scenting a try glut and forcing the issue somewhat.

Once Gloucester turned around 34-6 ahead at the break, there was never any real danger of the home side losing out – and maybe that safety-net played its part.

The Cherry and Whites snatched six tries in all – Morgan claiming a hat-trick, Monahan, Qera and Koree Britton snaffling the others.

This was a victory to sustain momentum and warm up some frontline stars ahead of the Premiership return – and all in all it was a job relatively well done.

In LV=Cup group terms though, Gloucester may yet rue their inability to rack up the points difference from this fixture.

But despite Ospreys defeat, six points from their two opening Anglo-Welsh Cup clashes just about keep them in the hunt for a semi-final berth – but surely now only two wins from two will be enough.

Rob Cook's yellow card was an inauspicious start, but the doom it predicted never materialised.

The former Cornish Pirates full-back was sin-binned for tackling Dan Caprice in the air, and trotted off without complaint after a clumsy challenge.

Gloucester shrugged off their man disadvantage though, and scored through a savvy training-ground ploy.

Twelvetrees cut the line at first receiver after fast lineout ball, allowing Burns free rein from the resulting ruck.

The fly-half fired out wide to Steph Reynolds, who danced back inside and retained possession well.

Monahan's shallow line invited a reverse pass from Jimmy Cowan, and the All Black obliged to send the former Rotherham man home for the game's first try.

Gordon Ross' two penalties handed Welsh a foothold, but that disappeared when Morgan capped a driving maul for Gloucester's second score.

When Matt Corker killed the ball on his own line and walked to the bin, Welsh were in real trouble – and Gloucester took full advantage.

Qera bullocked home from close range for the third score, before Gloucester overcomplicated a back-row move and bungled a clear blindside overlap.

With the bonus point fourth score in view though, the unflustered home side then plucked out that devastating Qera-Monahan-Morgan combination to floor the visitors.

So far so impressive – but when the teams returned after the break Gloucester lost their cutting edge.

A clutch of half-chances botched, Gloucester's rhythm stalled and Welsh seized the initiative.

Nick Scot nipped in on the hour after a fine slippery break from the eel himself, ex-Gloucester stalwart Tom Voyce.

Any thoughts of a comeback lasted just five minutes though, as replacement hooker Britton capped another driving maul for Gloucester's fifth score.

By this stage Mike Tindall was operating as a makeshift fly-half, with Burns and Twelvetrees withdrawn.

The odd agricultural – but accurate nonetheless – hoof paid tribute to his horse Monbeg Dude's maiden Cheltenham win earlier in the day.

As Welsh bamboozled themselves trying the audacious from their own half, Morgan stole in, fly-hacked on – and completed his first hat-trick in professional rugby.

If Gloucester hoped that would prove a neat ending to a solid shift, Welsh had other ideas – with a helping fumble from Tindall.

Lining up a clearance in his own 22, Tindall spilled Dave Lewis' regulation pass – and prop James Tideswell pounced for Welsh's second try.

Cue The Shed's donkey chants, which redoubled with Tindall dropped the restart out on the full.

More mayhem followed when Lewis tried to boot the ball out for full-time too.

Turning away from trouble, his chip only found Monahan on the wing in his own 22.

Fortunately the Irish power monger was robust enough to ride out two tackles and set the play, allowing Locke to complete the clearance and end the game.

Another cup fortnight neatly negotiated – and another Premiership dogfight smartly teed up.

Gloucester Rugby: R Cook, S Monahan, M Tindall, B Twelvetrees (D Locke 62), S Reynolds, F Burns (T Molenaar 62), J Cowan (D Lewis 66), N Wood (D Murphy 51), H Edmonds (K Britton 51), R Harden (D Chistolini (62), T Savage, W James (W Graulich 41), A Qera, M Cox, B Morgan) Rep not used: R Moriarty.

LONDON WELSH: T Voyce, D Caprice, S Parker, S Jewell (J Lewis, 36), N Scott, G Ross (A Davies, 70), J Stephenson (N Runciman, 55), T Bristow (A Joly, 55), W Hafu (G Bateman, 66), P Ion (J Tideswell, 41), A Brown, M Corker, L Beach, M Hills (E Jackson, 66), A Balding (P Spivey, 66).

REFEREE: T Wigglesworth.


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  • Deadeye_Glaws  |  November 20 2012, 9:20PM

    Typical of England when it comes to Gloucester Rugby players. They are given little chance and get dropped at the first opportunity. Yet others from other clubs are given chance after chance after chance and never get dropped when it is obvious they are rubbish.

    Rate   5
  • alex_bound  |  November 20 2012, 8:06PM

    Sharples has been dropped by England. If they haven't broken him, that will ease the wing problems.

    Rate   6
  • CurtDowne  |  November 20 2012, 7:42PM

    Brown tweeted on the weekend that he had had a "nerve repair" in his shoulder.

    Rate   6
  • LucaTowers  |  November 20 2012, 7:07PM

    Rumours abound that Alex Brown has or is just about to go under the knife and there's also a rumour of the same for Sinbad. We do not have anyone in the academy that can adequately fill in behind those two yet. So we are NOT well blessed with replacements and it was totally and utterly daft to say that we are.

    Rate   6
  • richardpenton  |  November 20 2012, 6:39AM

    It is ridiculously obvious that we can not just replace our top players with some youngster from the academy without that weakening the team. It is ridiculous to say otherwise and is naive in the extreme.

    Rate   5
  • mattw74  |  November 19 2012, 11:36PM

    Short of locks, back row ravaged by injuries and the same on the wings, yet some bright spark reckons it will make no difference if the squad loses a couple more to call ups. Yeah, right!

    Rate   7
  • Straw90  |  November 19 2012, 8:26PM

    Yes, the academy, A League and LV Cup is precisely for developing younger players. You don't throw them into the Premiership until they are ready or cause you are desperately short-handed due to injuries/call ups.

    Rate   5
  • JBuddy  |  November 19 2012, 7:40PM

    Quite ridiculous! The troll obviously never saw how some of the starlets were shown up against Ospreys. The LV= Cup, A League is the right place for them until they have developed enough for selection to play in the Premiership.

    Rate   6
  • Newilldon  |  November 19 2012, 7:33PM

    What a clueless troll Walker100 (aka Gordon_P/peh45/akadau/graybaggs/glawsteruk1) is. The opposition in those games was not of the same standard as Premiership team with first choice players.

    Rate   5
  • GlawsSurfer  |  November 19 2012, 6:51PM

    Well that shows how much you know.

    Rate   5