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?
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
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

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits