Gloucester display flair and determination

Gloucester 27 Leicester 21

kingsholm stadium

The two faces of Gloucester rugby were displayed to a capacity crowd at Kingsholm yesterday. The creativity and pace of a singular back division were replaced in the final quarter by obdurate forward defence when they were reduced to 13 players, but their determination not to concede the lead made for an utterly compelling match.

Moreover it carried Gloucester, unbeaten since the opening weekend of the Aviva Premiership, to second in the table. They may not be winning games by much and they face Harlequins, the 2012 champions, next weekend, but they are winning. "There's a long way to go but that was a fabulous display," said Nigel Davies, their director of rugby.

Only two Gloucester players, Ben Morgan and Charlie Sharples, were named in England's squad last week compared with Leicester's eight but that could change before the season ends. The vision and passing skills of Billy Twelvetrees give him a growing claim to England's problem position of inside-centre, and Freddie Burns (right), who included a try in his 17-point haul, is growing in authority at fly half.

But Leicester will still regret their inability to take advantage of their second-half dominance. They will look closely at the decision-making of the match officials during a frenetic final quarter, when the Gloucester scrum was in ruins and Leicester's driving mauls were regularly collapsed, and will make their views known to Ed Morrison, the RFU's refereeing director. "But we made mistakes and Gloucester played very well," a philosophic Richard Cockerill, their director of rugby, said. He shrugged off the withdrawal of Ben Youngs, the England scrum-half who failed a fitness test on his hamstring yesterday morning but is not considered doubtful for the start of the autumn internationals in a fortnight.

Leicester had hardly set foot in the ground before they were behind. Less than a minute had been played when Sharples latched on to a delicate grub-kick by Burns to score with no Leicester player having touched the ball. Nor were Gloucester in the mood to relax: their ball-carriers punched holes close to ruck and maul and they received the unexpected gift of line-out superiority, thanks to Tom Youngs misfiring badly with his throwing.

Even when Leicester worked Scott Hamilton over at the corner with only an inch to spare, Gloucester kept composure. It earned them a fine team try, even if Burns supplied the final individual touch, gathering his own chip-kick one-handed to score.

A six-point interval advantage more than doubled thanks to the brilliance of James Simpson- Daniel. "James is an international wing. Whether he plays international rugby is not my call," said Davies with conviction after Simpson-Daniel, from an ill-directed Leicester kick, swerved inside and outside three defenders before sending Akapusi Qera in for his side's third try.

Thereafter Gloucester were reduced to bloody-minded defence. A collapsed maul led to a yellow card for Jimmy Cowan and, a minute later, Rob Cook followed after the referee judged he deliberately flapped into touch a cross-kick by Toby Flood intended for Vereniki Goneva.

As night follows day, Leicester opted for a five-metre scrum and were duly awarded a penalty try as Gloucester shot backwards into their own in-goal area. But that was the extent of the comeback: Gloucester fiddled around to eke out time until their backs returned and their tackling reduced Leicester to impotence.

Gloucester R Cook (sin bin 60-70); C Sharples, M Tindall (captain), B Twelvetrees, J Simpson-Daniel; F Burns, J Cowan (sin bin 59-69); N Wood (D Murphy, 61), H Edmonds (K Britton, 54), R Hardern (S Knight, 54), T Savage (P Buxton, 58), W James, S Kalamafoni (M Cox, 60), B Morgan, A Qera.

Leicester G Murphy (captain); S Hamilton, M Tuilagi, A Allen, V Goneva; T Flood, S Harrison; L Mulipola (M Ayerza, 37), T Youngs, D Cole, L Deacon, G Parling, S Mafi, J Crane (E Slater, 19), T Waldrom.

Referee J P Doyle.

Attendance 15,110.

Gloucester

Tries: Sharples, Burns, Qera

Cons: Burns 3

Pens: Burns 2

Leicester

Tries: Hamilton, penalty

Con: Flood

Pens: Flood 3

News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own