Schisano so sharp

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The Independent Online

Gloucester called on extra reserves from their reserves to climb off the bottom of the Zurich Premiership and leave Rotherham floundering after three defeats in a row.

Gloucester called on extra reserves from their reserves to climb off the bottom of the Zurich Premiership and leave Rotherham floundering after three defeats in a row.

The newly-promoted Yorkshire club have shown plenty of the grit for which they are renowned, but now know the huge gap in class between the élite and the rest. The 29-23 margin may seem close, but that was due to a brave second half fightback from 24-6 down. And things may get worse before they get better. The top-flight new boys meet champions Leicester at Welford Road on Wednesday.

Gloucester, who are missing a team's worth of casualties, still proved too strong with their French wing Franck Schisano crossing for a hat-trick of tries in the 14th, 21st and 46th minutes. Their dominance was typified by an outstanding display by their flanker Jake Boer.

Suddenly, from 29-6 down, Rotherham came alive with tries from scrum-half Dave Scully and replacement prop Jim Thorp. Mike Umaga converted both and added three penalties but Gloucester held out in the dying minutes.

Swansea's international pair Mark Taylor and Arwel Thomas stole the limelight against brave Caerphilly in the Welsh/Scottish League. Their inspired performances proved the basis for a convincing 59-20 win at St Helen's.

After last week's victory over Glasgow Caledonians, Caerphilly were full of confidence and trailed by just three at the break, scoring all their points in a cut-and-thrust first period. The visitors displayed plenty of flair and were rewarded with tries from wing Nigel Berbillion and the captain Andrew Williams, leading the side out for the first time in the absence of Nathan Jones.

Then the All Whites moved into overdrive. They ran in six tries in the second half while Thomas was spot-on with his kicking, chalking up 19 points with five conversions and three penalties. Swansea scored eight tries in all with Wales centre Taylor crossing twice, while fellow internationals Scott Gibbs and Colin Charvis also went over.

Shane Howarth, the Kiwi who thought he was Welsh, has settled down well in Newport. A huge drop goal from Howarth proved the turning point as his side beat Neath 24-13.

Brett Davey is proving a useful replacement for Neil Jenkins in the Pontypridd side. He converted both tries from Lenny Woodard and Paul John and landed six penalties - all of them in the first half as Ebbw Vale crumbled 32-23.

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