Gloucester enjoy late relief

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The Independent Online

The Heineken Cup novices of Gloucester preserved the last English unbeaten record in Europe, and did so only at the very last possible moment, snatching a draw with Colomiers through a penalty try converted by Bryon Hayward six minutes into injury time.

The Heineken Cup novices of Gloucester preserved the last English unbeaten record in Europe, and did so only at the very last possible moment, snatching a draw with Colomiers through a penalty try converted by Bryon Hayward six minutes into injury time.

A point apiece was probably about right after the hosts had dominated the first half and the visitors, inspired by man-of-the-match Jean-Luc Sadourny, the second, although had the Cherry-and-Whites held more passes they might not have been sweating until the last.

Colomiers had looked unlikely to add to their competition tally of a single try in an opening period of largely aimless aerial ping-pong that ended 12-6 to the hosts.

Four penalties from Gloucester's Elton Moncrieff were answered by two late ones from Laurent Marti-corena, but it was the hosts who carved out the only try-scoring chances.

Tom Beim was denied by the cruel bounce of Moncrieff's chip over a ruck set up after a dazzling break from Jason Little, and Chris Catling was tackled into touch at the left flag in injury time.

Little, the Australian international standing in for the injured Simon Mannix at fly-half, looked more comfortable as a running No 10 than a kicking or passing one, and came unstuck at the last discipline in the opening moments of a second half that Colomiers began with the application of a team who had received a gale-force talking-to in the dressing-room.

Little's loose pass ended up with replacement centre Yanick Jauzion, who sent his wing Laurent Giolitti racing half the length of the field for a try converted by Marticorena to give Colomiers a 13-12 lead. Gloucester were winded, and before they could collect themselves Marticorena had extended the advantage with a smart drop goal from 35 yards.

Moncrieff's fifth penalty pegged the visitors back to a point, but after Terry Fanolua's desperate tackle denied Christophe Laurent a try, Marticorena landed another penalty to take the Frenchmen four points clear. His final 40-yarder, in the 78th minute, looked to have sown matters up, but as Gloucester, with Little now more dangerous having been restored to the centre, battered away with a series of tap penalties, Colomiers were penalised for playing offside and thanks to Hayward's conversion finally got themselves out of jail.

Gloucester: C Catling; F Schisano (B Hayward, 53), T Fanolua, C Yates, T Beim; J Little, E Moncreiff (A Gomarsall, 74); S Simon, A Azam, P Vickery, A Eustace, I Jones, A Hazell, J Paramore, K Jones (capt; S Ojomoh, 50; E Pearce, 72)

Colomier: J L Sadourny (capt); B Lhande, M Carre, S Roque (Y Jauzion, 40), L Giolitti; L Marticorena, F Galthie; W Begarie, C Laurent, J F Meslier de Rocan (S Delpuech, 46), S Hepher (G Moro, 46), J M Lorenzi, V Clement (B de Guisti, 48), S Peysson (F Ntamack, 46), H Manent.

Referee: M Salera (Italy).

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