Rugby Union: West Hartlepool 33 Gloucester 32 - Gloucester fall to boot of Vile

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The Independent Online
MIKE BREWER, West Hartlepool's director of rugby, said before this game that his team needed no motivation. If they are relegated at the end of the season, it will mean the end of professional rugby in the town, and none of his players will have a job. With a play-off place as their minimum objective, West know they must first displace Bedford at the bottom of the Premiership.

They took a decisive step towards that with a passionate performance against Gloucester at Victoria Park yesterday. Error strewn the game may have been, but it is the result which counts. If West do survive -and five of their remaining seven games are at home - Brewer should arrange the freedom of Hartlepool for Steve Vile.

The little outside-half from Waratah, Australia, deserves nothing less after contributing 28 of West's 33 points with the opening try, which he converted, a dropped goal, and six penalties, in a low quality, though marvellously exciting, match, which Gloucester should have killed stone dead when Steve Ojomoh and Mark Mapletoft tries in the final quarter put them 32-27 ahead.

But Gloucester have been something of a joke away from the comfort of Kingsholm, winning only once, at Richmond back in September. With an hour played, it looked as if Philippe Saint-Andre's first league match in charge, might be the second.

However, it was not to be. Gloucester allowed the West forwards to gain huge slices of territory and, despite a first-half penalty try and touchdowns from Nathan Carter and Tom Beim, too many unforced errors gave Vile all the kicking practice required to win the game.

West Hartlepool: Tries Vile, Monkley; Conversion Vile; Penalties Vile 6; Drop Goal: Vile. Gloucester: Tries Penalty try, Beim, Carter, Ojomoh, Mapletoft; Conversions Mapletoft 2; Penalty: Mapletoft.

West Hartlepool: E Farrell (T Handley 27, G Maclure 72); J Benson, M Mullins, P Greaves, S John; S Vile, T Nu'uali'itia; S Sparks, S McDonald, K Fourie, P Farner (capt), M Giacheri, M Salter, D Monkley, M Brewer.

Gloucester: C Catling; B Johnson (P Saint-Andre 59), T Fanolua, S Mannix, T Beim; M Mapletoft, S Benton (I Sanders 59); T Woodman (T Windo 74), N McCarthy (C Fortey 74), A Deacon, R Fidler, D Sims (capt M Cornwell H-T), E Pearce (A Hazell 65), N Carter, S Ojomoh.

Referee: B Campsall (Halifax).