Con. Robinson (2)
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
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.
|Cherry and Whites best of season|
|Spirited Gloucester win in style|
Gloucester 23 Biarritz 8
Kingsholm - Saturday January 16th 2010
Attendance - 11,846