Cherry and Whites' nine try bonus-point win
Gloucester's improved performance
Gloucester 61 Agen 16
Thursday, 19 October, 2017. 1745 hrs
A much changed Cherry and Whites side from that which had made so many mistakes in France last week and allowed Pau to punish them, put in an improved showing at wet and windy Kingsholm to run in nine tries for a comprehensive try- bonus victory over Agen whose inexperienced young side were no match for Gloucester.
The match was effectively over by half-time with tries for the home side from Vellacott, Trinder, Morgan and Savage as Burns kicked his conversions well, as Agen's only points came from penalties from the boot of Verdu in an interval score of 28-9.
It took only five minutes for Gloucester to get points on the board as Ben Morgan broke off from a driving maul to feed Ben Vellacott who worked his way over in the corner for Burns to add the extras.
Agen did hit back with a long range penalty but Gloucester looked dangerous every time they had the ball and tries followed at regular intervals as the hosts increased their first-half lead lead.
It was more of the same in the second-half as David Halaifonua was denied a try by the TMO for a foot in touch before Henry Purdy and Owen Williams snapped up chances to keep the scoreboard ticking over. The impressive Vellacoot added his second try before Richard Hibbard and Jake Polledri made sure the forwards kept up the momentum with further scores to seal the match.
Gloucester had made light work of the heavy conditions after the day's incessant rain and although the visitors battled bravely, they were comfortably beaten, as for once the Cherry and Whites had an improved error count compared with previous weeks. However they are still some way short of the impressive weekly reliability figures produced with monotonous regularity by Champions Saracens. Mistakes cost matches.
For all their hard work, some Gloucester players seem unlikely to achieve such consistency on a regular basis and I am sure Johan Ackermann will be pruning his squad at the end of the current season.
It is not just the over-publicised Wasps who are suffering from injuries, most Premiership teams have similar problems but player availability has hit the Cherry and Whites particularly hard this season. Surely part of the answer for Gloucester is to build a squad with genuine strength in depth and where possible encourage younger local talent, rather than import too many players who are never likely to make the top grade and seem only there to make up the numbers and do not cost too much money.
Random thoughts from an Englshman who has lived in Agen for the past ten years -
'I thought Kingsholm would be a better ground'
'Pau, should have lost to Gloucester, they were gifted all their points by Gloucester'
'Typical French, they've selected a young side for an away game.'
'You should have seen Cau Cau play, some weeks he would tear teams to shreds but the next time he didn't even get his jersey dirty'
More from Mike
They say you have to beat what is put up against you and that's what Gloucester did on Thursday night.
15.Jason Woodward;14.Henry Purdy,13.Henry Trinder,12.Owen Williams,11. David Halaifonua;
10. Billy Burns, 9. Ben Vellacott;
1.Josh Hohneck, 2.James Hanson, 3.Gareth Denman; 4.Tom Savage (capt), 5.Charlie Beckett; 6.Jake Polledri, 7.Lewis Ludlow, 8.Ben Morgan
16. Richard Hibbard, 17. Cameron Orr, 18. John Afoa, 19. Freddie Clarke, 20. Jacob Rowan,
21. Willi Heinz, 22. Billy Twelvetrees, 23. Callum Braley
Unavailable for selection:
Mark Atkinson, Fraser Balmain, Tom Denton, Gareth Evans, Lloyd Evans, Mariano Galarza, Tom Marshall, Ross Moriarty, Matt Scott, Charlie Sharples, Ed Slater, Andy Symons, Ollie Thorley, Jeremy Thrush
Final Score 61-16
Tries: Vellacott (2), Trinder, Savage, Morgan, Purdy, Williams, Hibbard, Polledri
Con: Burns (6), Williams
Referee: Dan Jones. Wales
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