Mark Mapletoft was the darling of the Gloucester Shed with a mammoth 27 points as the Cherry and Whites handed Leicester Tigers a mauling. It moved Gloucester into fifth place in the Allied Dunbar Premiership and left Leicester with a headache or two just a point above them.
Just a year ago the Tigers had visited Kingsholm and lost 32-30 in a league match. But last year it was not their discipline that let them down. Yesterday the Tigers gave away far too many penalties. They did have their moments and, indeed, outscored their hosts by three tries to two.
They had begun the match without Stuart Potter, Austin Healey (calf strain) and the flanker Neil Back. The replacements did not do that badly and Lewis Moody looks a promising prospect. But in the 34th minute things were not improved when Joel Stransky was unlucky enough to tackle the Western Samoan man of steel, Terry Fanolua. The brush left Stransky with a closed right eye and off he came.
That appeared to spark something. Michael Horak's first try resulted from sublime movement. Serevi, having switched to outside-half in place of Stransky, passed to Greenwood, looped on round to collect the return and then popped the ball up for Horak to steam over. His touchdown left Serevi with a simple conversion, putting Tigers in front.
But prior to Mapletoft's fourth penalty, deep into injury time, which brought the home side to within a point, it had been an unedifying spectacle. Too much niggle and backchat from Leicester with the concomitant penalties. They chirped to Gareth Hughes, the referee, throughout, conceding 10 metres every time.
The whole display left Bob Dwyer, the Tigers coach, in his words, "completely disillusioned. We did some good things, but they totalled about five minutes. I can't think of anything more to say. I'm sick of talking."
Within five minutes of the second half Gloucester stole ahead. The Leicester back row, revealing a little naivety, bought Scott Benton's dummy at a scrum and the Gloucester scrum-half darted through. Mapletoft converted.
Craig Joiner's try five minutes after that was converted by Serevi and edged Tigers in front, but back came Gloucester, first a Mapletoft penalty, then an interception by the outside-half when Will Greenwood obligingly flagged his intended pass outside. Mapletoft covered 60 metres before touching down under the posts to ensure himself the conversion. When Horak pounded over for his second try it raised hopes but Gloucester held firm.
Gloucester: Tries Benton, Mapletoft; Conversions Mapletoft 2; Penalties Mapletoft 6. Leicester: Tries Horak 2, Joiner; Conversions Serevi 2; Penalties Stransky 2.
Gloucester: C Catling; B Johnson, T Fanolua, R Tombs, A Lumsden; M Mapletoft, S Benton; A Powles, C Fortey, P Vickery, R Fidler, D Sims (M Cornwell, 54), P Glanville (capt), N Carter, S Devereux (S Ojomoh, 54).
Leicester: A Leeds; M Horak, W Greenwood, C Joiner (J Overend, 80), L Lloyd; J Stransky (R Edwards, 34), W Serevi; G Rowntree, D West, D Garforth, M Johnson (capt), F van Heerden, P Gustard (E Miller, 54), M Corry (W Johnson, 74), L Moody.
Referee: G Hughes (Sandbach).
l Niall Hogan will not play in Ireland's opening Five Nations' Championship game against Scotland in Dublin on Saturday after suffering a fractured cheekbone in London Irish's 41-16 Allied Dunbar Premiership defeat at Sale yesterday. He will be replaced by the Cork Constitution scrum-half, Brian O'Meara.Reuse content