Saturday 9 December 2006


Gloucester make hard work of it

Gloucester 38 Edinburgh 22

Gloucester made a great start to the match and provided a strong finish to give them a good bonus point winning result but in between were at times guilty of some sloppy play which allowed Edinburgh back into the game.

The foundations for the Cherry and Whites were laid by a pack that was totally dominant in the tight exchanges, indeed at the first scrum the visitorsí eight were shunted back yards at a rate of knots to lay down a marker of their intent. The Collazo, Azam and Nieto front row, totally dismantled their opponents.
The Scotsí line-out also struggled against Bortolami and Brown and were not helped by some wayward throwing.
The visitors were forced on the back foot throughout the opening stages as Foster, Allen and Simpson-Daniel all made ground with strong individual efforts but the first score came when fly half Willie Walker threaded a grubber kick behind the cover defence for Mike Tindall to pick up and score under the posts.
Within five minutes Gloucester had doubled their score when Sinbad snapped up a loose pass by fly half Phil Godman to run in from the half-way line and the conversion took the score to 14-0. It was virtually all Gloucester in the early stages but they were unable to make the game safe as errors and poor decisions allowed Edinburgh back into the game against the run of play.
Gloucester turned down the chance of a straight forward penalty kick at goal to go for the corner but it back fired when they lost their line out and the visitors broke away downfield and after some effective three quarter play made the home side pay with a try for winger Ben Cairns who took advantage of some weak tackling to score. A try which Chris Patterson converted from wide out.
Gloucesterís play was now inconsistent and fragmented with the Edinburgh back row rarely committed to the breakdown exchanges, preferring to stand off and prosper by exploiting the off-side limits to their advantage but were rarely punished by Welsh referee Tim Hayes.
The referee did however penalise Gloucester and Paterson decreased the deficit to 14-10.
Ollie Azam was a powerful work-horse in the tight and the loose and gained large chunks of territory with his strong runs before he was eventually driven over following a line out take by Alex Brown to make it 19-10 after half an hour.
Gloucester then suffered a ragged and torrid ten minutes and were made to pay for missing too many first-up tackles.
Mike Tindall was sin-binned before the lively visitors' backs strung some sharp passes together for full back Hugo Southwell to score in the corner to put them right back in contention before a Walker penalty made the score 22-17 at the break.
The Cherry and Whites may have made a good start to the first half but their start to the second half was anything but as Marcus Di Rollo scored for the Scots within minutes to level the scores to set the Kingsholm alarm bells ringing.
Walker did manage a drop goal but the Gloucester half backs were dis-jointed and Rory Lawson and Ryan Lamb were introduced to the fray following Tindallís return in an attempt to liven things up behind the scrum.
Too many touch kicks were ineffective before Lamb eventually slotted a penalty as the Gloucester pack began to make their physical pressure tell at 28-22.
Gloucester did at last show a spark of ingenuity and cohesion when full back Olly Morgan fielded a kick ahead and made ground before Sinbad explode from half way to beat a handful of opponents with blistering pace and a weaving run which enabled Adam Balding to charge on before the ball was recycled on to Marco Bortolami who was stopped just short of the line but Anthony Allen was on hand to claim a cracking bonus point try, 33-22.
At last the referee found his yellow card to punish Edinburgh when replacement Simon Taylor received his marching orders.
Christian Califano came on for the final quarter but there was no let up in the total dominance of the Gloucester front row as the Edinburgh side finished as they had started, hanging on desperately.
There was still time for Gloucester to manage a further deserved score through Mark Foster with the last movement of the match.
The Cherry and Whites still maintain a outside chance of progress in the Heineken Cup but now face a daunting trip to the wide open spaces of Murrayfield where Leinster slipped up earlier this season and Gloucester will need to improve to keep their slender European hopes alive.

Pricey's Postscript
Rearrange the changing room seating plan to make sure that the front five are in pole position to be able to clip their colleagues around the ear for being so ungrateful.
Led by Collazo, they had their opposing front five wrapped up in gift paper (with a fancy bow) and placed under the Xmas Tree after about ten minutes.
They should all have been enjoying mince pies and sherry at half time but instead they had to come out and do it all again.
The players should realise that Xmas and the season of goodwill only comes once a year.
They won't be so lucky in January.
J.G.P. 10/12/2006

Edinburgh Match Pictures
Tries:-Tindall,Simpson-Daniel, Azam, Allen, Foster
Conversions:- Walker 2, Penalties:- Walker, Lamb
H/T 22-17
Olly Morgan rep. I.Balshaw,
James Simpson-Daniel, Mike Tindall, Anthony Allen, Mark Foster;
Willie Walker rep. Ryan Lamb, Peter Richards rep. R.Lawson
Patrice Collazo rep, C.Califano, Olivier Azam, Carlos Nieto,
Marco Bortolami (capt), Alex Brown,
Peter Buxton,Jake Boer, Luke Narraway rep. Adam Balding
Reps: Rob Elloway, Christian Califano, Adam Eustace, Adam Balding,
Rory Lawson, Ryan Lamb, Iain Balshaw.

Yellow Card - Mike Tindall
Referee: - Tim Hayes - Wales
Attendance -9,749