Gloucester 27 Perpignan 22 match report: Billy Twelvetrees steps up to seal deal for Gloucester

kingsholm

James Hook, the forgotten man of Welsh rugby, did all that one man could do to set Perpignan on the road to European success last night. But Gloucester, desperately needing a winning injection to their season, returned to Heineken Cup rugby after a year's absence by snatching the verdict in the final five minutes.

They joined Edinburgh at the head of Pool Six by capitalising on Perpignan's lack of discipline. Billy Twelvetrees, at fly-half in the absence of Freddie Burns, kicked 17 points and led the line well enough to give Jonny May the chance to score the crucial try at the same time as Perpignan were reduced to 14 when Lifeimi Mafi was sent off for a dangerous tackle.

It spelled the end of the French club's hopes after Hook had scored in every way possible. It does not mean that Gloucester are out of the domestic wood yet but their pack held up better than expected.

The withdrawal before the kick-off of Burns, through illness, would not have done Gloucester's already-fragile confidence any good. Nor did the resulting switch of Twelvetrees from centre help the great national debate over England's best midfield but Gloucester's immediate concerns were increased when Perpignan scored within the first minute. Camille Lopez pushed through a grub-kick behind a lineout, brilliantly tipped inside by the wing Wandile Mjekevu, and Hook provided the finish and the conversion.

But Gloucester settled to their work and two penalties by Twelvetrees reduced the deficit to a single point. Hook responded in kind and was unlucky when he hit a delightful angle behind a ruck but was called back for inadvertent obstruction.

But Gloucester were unfortunate not to finish the first half on level terms. Jimmy Cowan, tapping a free kick to himself five metres out, appeared to force the ball down through Nicolas Durand's tackle but was denied by the television official, so all Gloucester had to show for five minutes of concerted pressure was a third penalty by Twelvetrees.

The start of the second half was in direct contrast: Perpignan lost Durand to the sin-bin and though the French side won a scrum Lopez, standing in at scrum half, was penalised for a crooked feed. Cowan tapped to himself and this time secured the try which gave battling Gloucester the lead for the first time.

It lasted no more than four minutes. Hook, the 2009 Lion in inspirational form, sent Perpignan sweeping upfield and continued to kick his goals.

Two penalties nudged the French club ahead, the second when Matt Kvesic was sent to the sin-bin for slowing down ball when it seemed Perpignan must score a try against a disrupted defence.

When Hook added a 46-metre drop goal, it completed a full house for the Welshman but Gloucester, throwing caution to the wind, came again. They forced a scrum penalty which Twelvetrees kicked but May was denied a try when the TMO ruled a forward pass by Mike Tindall.

The wing, though, would not be denied. With the crowd calling for a tip-tackle on Ryan Mills, Twelvetrees sliced through, the ball came back left and May made the extra man to score.

To the Shed's glee Mafi, the Perpignan centre, was shown a red card for upending Mills and Twelvetress stepped up to seal the deal with his fifth penalty on the stroke of time.

Gloucester R Cook; J May, M Tindall, R Mills, J Simpson-Daniel; B Twelvetrees, J Cowan (D Robson, 63); Y Thomas, H Edmonds (D George, 55), S Knight (D Murphy, 23), E Stooke, J Hudson, T Savage (captain), M Kvesic (sin bin 52-63; G Evans, 63), S Kalamafoni (A Qera, 63).

Perpignan J Hook; S Guitoune, T Benvenuti (D Marty, 56), L Mafi (red card 75), W Mjekevu (D Duvenage, 50); C Lopez, N Durand (sin bin 43-53; G Michel, 53); S Taofifenua (K Pulu, 55), G Guirado (captain; R Terrain, 63), P Ion (G Jgenti, 41), D Leo (L Charteris, 63), R Taofifenua, J Purll, A Strokosch, L Narraway (J-P Perez, 67).

Referee L Hodges (Wales).

Gloucester

Tries: Cowan, May

Con: Twelvetrees

Pens: Twelvetrees 5

Perpignan

Try: Hook

Con: Hook

Pens: Hook 4

Drop-goal: Hook

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin