Burns is too hot for Italians to handle as Gloucester run riot

Gloucester 90 Rovigo 7
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This is the down side of the Amlin Challenge Cup – the mismatches that result when leading English or French clubs meet one of the outsiders. Yet there was an attraction here, in the shape of a young Gloucester back division who are all qualified for England. A comparison can be drawn with the emerging back line at Newcastle a decade ago, when Jonny Wilkinson was surrounded by Jamie Noon, Tom May and Michael Stephenson, all of whom were later capped.

Here the older men, James Simpson-Daniel, Lesley Vainikolo and Olly Morgan, were joined by Freddie Burns, Jonny May and Henry Trinder. Burns was making his first start of the season at fly-half after hip and back problems. He scored a try and kicked nine conversions.

Bryan Redpath, his coach, was pleased with his management of a game that could have lost all structure. "Freddie stuck to the script and I need him to have game time under his belt," Redpath said, knowing that Aviva Premiership fixtures, against Harlequins and Leicester, are round the corner.

May scored three of the home team's 14 tries with a fine display of broken-field running which was sustained in the final quarter, when Gloucester played with 14 men. Trinder left for the sin-bin after a late challenge but he had also hurt an arm and Gloucester had used all their replacements. Redpath changed half his pack at the interval and rested the scrum-half David Lewis, in the knowledge that he could start against Harlequins if Rory Lawson does not recover from a broken bone in his hand.

Rovigo, who were thrashedat home by La Rochelle last weekend, will be the whipping boys of Pool Five. Jose Guzman, their Argentina No 8, deserved far better, as did Jean-François Montauriol on the flank. But they had no scrum and no attack save a dogged rolling maul.

Gloucester scored their first try within 80 seconds, which set the tone. However, they fell short of their own record for the competition (106 points, against the Romanians of Bucuresti in 2005), never mind the 151 points that Saracens scored against hapless Bucuresti in 2002.

Gloucester: O Morgan; J Simpson-Daniel (C Sharples, 69), H Trinder, J May, L Vainikolo; F Burns (N Robinson, 55), D Lewis (J Pasqualin, 40); A Dickinson (N Wood, 59), S Lawson (D Dawidiuk, 40), P Doran-Jones (P Capdevielle, 40), J Hamilton (P Buxton, 40), A Brown, A Strokosch (B Deacon, 40), L Narraway (capt), A Hazell.

Rovigo: S Basson; A Bacchetti (M De Gaspari, 74), A Lunardon (A Zorzi, 40;), F Zarattini (G Bustos, 36), M Stanojevic; D Duca, M Zanirato; N Quaglio (G Boccalon, 74), F Damiano (R Dolcetto, 40), V Golfetti (L Mahoney, 37), T Reato (capt; A Persico, 40), D Tumiati, Y Anouer (M Barion, 62), J Guzman, J-F Montauriol.

Referee: M Raynal (France).

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