Gloucester's flying start wings Wasps

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The Independent Online
Gloucester 22 Wasps 9

A GAP of six places in the First Division made no difference here. Gloucester, who won the first, then unsponsored, knock-out cup in 1972, but who are still in danger of relegation this season, are through to the semi-finals.

They not only scored the only two tries of this tie but kept up such a fierce, sustained resistance against the more fancied Wasps, that finally the emphatic scoreline spoke nothing but the truth.

Since rugby more than most is a game of confidence, it is not surprising that Gloucester, fresh from their hefty 27-0 win against Orrell, began with more alacrity than Wasps, who were slightly stale, it seemed, from their 36-12 thumping by Bath.

The match was less than a minute old when a breakaway from the back of the scrum which followed the kick-off allowed Gloucester to set up Martyn Kimber for a drop goal in front of the posts.

But it was not all as easy as that for Gloucester. Wasps, once they had settled, opened up a series of short, stabbing runs at their opponents and, worst of all, pushed them back in the scrums and mauls.

The latter is something which the players and crowd at Kingsholm always take as an affront to their reputation as hard men. Things thereafter got heated and the two opposing hookers locked horns both inside and outside the scrum and eventually had to be taken aside for a caution.

Wasps' spell of pressure brought them no more than a penalty goal from Guy Gregory, however, as Gloucester weathered it comfortably.

Gloucester had three penalty chances, but Gareth Fenwick is essentially a kicker from the left-side of the field and he succeeded with only one. But just as the half was fading away Gloucester settled on the Wasps line and were not to be shifted. First Paul Holford was held short, then Phil Greening and just when it seemed that the advantage was gone, Dave Sims, their captain, thrust his right hand over the line to touch down just before being pushed into touch in goal.

Although two more penalties by Gregory reduced Gloucester's lead to two points, Wasps never came near to producing the kind of back-row and threequarters movements which used to come naturally to them A penalty from Fenwick took Gloucester further ahead, a second drop goal by Kimber extended the lead and, deep into injury time, Mike Lloyd ran on to a deflected kick by Kimber for a try which was a pure bonus for industry and effort.

Gloucester: G Fenwick; P Holford, D Caskie, M Roberts, M Lloyd; M Kimber, S Benton; T Windo, P Greening, A Deacon, R Fidler, D Sims (capt), P Glanville, A Stanley, C Raymond

Wasps: J Ufton, P Hopley, D Hopley, A James, S Roiser; G Gregory, A Gomarsall; D Molloy, K Dunn, I Dunstan, C Biddle, R Kinsey, M White, C Wilkins, L Dallaglio (capt)

Referee: AJ Spreadbury (Somerset).