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

Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Sport
football
Life and Style
Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
i100
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
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

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?