Lacklustre Gloucester edge past struggling Worcester

Gloucester 28 - Worcester 16
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The Independent Online

It took one of their own, in a manner of speaking, to lay down exactly how far Gloucester have fallen this season.

It took one of their own, in a manner of speaking, to lay down exactly how far Gloucester have fallen this season.

As a former Kingsholm favourite at No 8, the Worcester head coach, John Brain, did not imagine at the season's start that his team could even dream of mounting a serious challenge there. But Brain and his charges departed disappointed that they had failed to take advantage of a Gloucester team who have flattered to deceive for much of this season.

Perhaps Gloucester believed their own publicity, which effectively stated they would be serious contenders on all fronts, and have been complacent. Or perhaps the realisation has only recently dawned that Gloucester are not as good as they have cracked themselves up to be, which seems the more likely explanation.

But whatever the truth of those issues, Brain's own take on how Gloucester were viewed in advance of this fixture simply confirms the fact of Gloucester's relative demise.

He said, "Looking at this game at the start of the season, realistically a promoted team shouldn't be in with a shout of winning at Kingsholm. But we are disappointed because looking at Gloucester's recent form we felt we could win, but it doesn't really change a lot. Our destiny is still very much in our own hands." Starting with the visit of Phil Davies' Leeds to Sixways on Friday night, the Warriors have targeted three wins from their remaining games to secure their place in the top flight.

Gloucester's Andy Hazell limped off in the 47th-minute with knee damage - to give England yet another Six Nations worry - did not help the match flow. Neither did visits to the sin bin in the 44th minute by Phil Vickery and the Worcester hooker Andre van Niekerk for their part in a dust-up that began at a scrum.

But not even those disruptions could disguise the Gloucester shortcomings that teams with more craft and pace than Worcester will exploit.

Gloucester: Tries Kiole, Gomersall, Sigley; Conversions H Paul (3). Penalties Paul (2); Drop goal McRae. Worcester: Try Powell; Conversion Brown; Penalties Brown (3).

Gloucester: J Goodridge; J Bailey, T Fanolua, H Paul, S Kiole; D McRae (N Mauger, 79), A Gomersall; T Sigley, M Davies, P Vickery, P Buxton (J Forrester, 70), A Brown, J Boer (capt; C Bezuidenhout, 57-64), A Balding, A Hazell (M Cornwell, 47).

Worcester: T Delport; G Pieters, D Rasmussen, T Lombard, B Hinshelwood; J Brown, M Powell; T Windo, A Van Niekerk, C Horsman, T Collier (P Murphy, 44), C Gillies, D Hickey, B Macleod-Henderson (C Hall, 57-64), P Sanderson (capt).

Referee: T Spreadbury (Bristol)

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