GLOUCESTER
Olly Morgan
James Simpson-Daniel
Tim Molenaar
E.Fuimaoni-Sapolu
Lesley Vainikolo
Nicky Robinson
Rory Lawson
Alasdair Dickinson
Scott Lawson
Greg Somerville
Alex Brown
Dave Attwood
Alasdair Strokosch
Gareth Delve
Akapusi Qera
Replacements
Nick Wood
Pierre Capdevielle
Darren Dawiduik
Adam Eustace
Luke Narraway
Freddie Burns
Dave Lewis
Tom Voyce
Glos Scorers
Tries: Vainikolo
Molenaar
Con. Robinson (2)
Pen: Robinson
Ref: G.Clancy
Att: 10,103

At long last an encounter that provided entertainment and enjoyment at Kingsholm, plus a deserved victory for Gloucester. Could this be the spark to ignite a poor season which to date has turned out to be a damp squib or is it another false dawn?
Only time will tell but on the day Biarritz were no match for a Gloucester team effort that produced the style of rugby that has sadly been lacking this season.
Fair play to the French side, although robbed of key players by injury, they did not indulge in the negative tactics employed by Worcester, the last visitors to Kingsholm and were prepared to move the ball through the hands rather than indulge in the current bane of modern-day rugby, the over-used ‘hoof and hope’ tactics.
Once again Dave Balmer and the Kingsholm staff had to perform minor miracles to overcome the recent snow and ice to allow the game to go-ahead, albeit with a heavy tacky surface but very much to their credit, no postponement or cancellation because of adverse ground conditions.
The home side made a positive start and below strength Biarritz hardly got into Gloucester territory as the hosts’ pack gained the ascendancy allowing Nicky Robinson to get the first points on the board with a well-struck penalty. It got even after twenty minutes when prop Alasdair Dickinson made a break at pace, before feeding Lesley Vainikolo who took the scoring pass with a strong direct run which was very much a feature of his play throughout. Robinson addd the conversion from wide out and somewhat unexpectedly Gloucester had a deserved lead.10-0.
The only first half score for the visitors was a Valentin Courrent penalty but Robinson kept the score ticking over with another penalty kick to take the half-time score to 13-3. The lead could have been greater as Gloucester were well in control but as so often happens, a few wrong options and missed chances denied them a larger score-line.
Thankfully Gloucester got the first score of the second period but Biarritz were providing more resistance before at long last, referee George Clancy eventually penalised the Frenchmen for continually slowing the ball down and Robinson was on-target. 16-3.
Gloucester kept up their pressure and their efforts were rewarded despite missing a couple of chances close to the line, man of the match centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu continued to break the defensive line and set up Big Les who in turn fed Tim Molenaar with a great off-load to force his way over under a pile of bodies for the second try.
Robinson’s conversion took the score to 23-3.
However Biarritz raised their game and put the home side under pressure in the closing stages and forced a series of scrums close to the line and finally Gloucester’s defence was breached when international number eight Imanol Harinordoquy broke away from a scrum to score a consolation try.
The smiles of joy on the faces around Kingsholm said it all—let’s hope it is no mere flash in the pan.
It takes more than one swallow to make a summer.
T.H. 17/1/2010

Pricey's Postscript








That was a good game of rugby, made all the better by a Gloucester win from one of their best performances in over 12 months.
Credit must go to the visitors, Biarritz who tried to play rugby, through the hand rather than with the boot and I'm sure that their style of play added to today’s spectacle.
Once Gloucester stopped shovelling the ball across the pitch and started to make straight runs they got the result. Pace will always open defences as was shown when Dickinson attacked from the base of a ruck to put Vainikolo in for a try in the left hand corner. Similarly, EFS was well rewarded for his straightening runs when the second of his second half breaks split the Biarritz defence wide open. Vainikolo was there to take the pass before being tackled. His excellent ability to off-load put Molenaar in.
Stand-out players were Dickinson and Scott Lawson, Vainikolo and Fuimaono- Sapolu who were well supported by a good all-round team performance.
Hopefully the Gloucester coaching team will deploy today’s tactics more often in the rest of the season.
John Price 16/1/2010

Probably the best game of rugby seen at Kingsholm this season, full of commitment and belief that a job could be done. Gloucester took this game by the scruff of the neck from the word go and played as every Cherry & Whites supporter knows they can.
I don't want to sound repetitive but I have said for the last 2 seasons that when Glos play with the ball in hand, run at their opponents and commit to the ruck and maul they are unbeatable.
Every player was committed to the cause and played a vital part any one of them could have been man of the match.
Bring on the Dragons, let the season begin.
Mike


Cherry and Whites best of season
Spirited Gloucester win in style
Gloucester 23 Biarritz 8
Kingsholm - Saturday January 16th 2010
 

Attendance - 11,846