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Gloucester brush off shortcomings to secure a victory vital to their season

By Nick_Purewal  |  Posted: January 11, 2013

Nigel Davies

Nigel Davies

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BORDEAUX-BEGLES 26 GLOUCESTER 31

A VITAL victory, one to stabilise Gloucester’s season.

And at the end of a mostly-torrid night, no one can begrudge boss Nigel Davies simply focusing on that and little besides.

Expert and flawless marksman Freddie Burns posted 26 points with the boot, while hooker Darren Dawidiuk claimed Gloucester’s first try since December 15.

Burns’ unerring haul of eight penalties and one conversion – on top of a dew-soaked pitch – ultimately guided Gloucester home.

But at Stade Andre Moga Gloucester’s teak-tough resilience returned, after a costly week’s absence.

The Cherry and White were humiliated after their 18-12 Kingsholm defeat to London Irish in the Premiership last weekend.

The Kingsholm men felt they had not turned up.

For large tracts of this clash they failed to fire in the craved manner – but Davies’ men restored the heart, pride and grit required for any kind of victory across The Channel.

Gloucester’s rugby director might have issues with elements of the performance, but in the immediate victory aftermath he was simply relieved to see his men back on track.

Davies explained: “That’s an absolutely vital win – not just for this game but for the season as a whole.

“We were very poor defensively in the first-half, we dropped off a few tackles and it wasn’t good enough.

“We had to fight back, and it wasn’t difficult at half-time because we needed to improve our territory to give ourselves chances.

“Do that and step up from a defensive perspective, and we would always be in with a shout.”

Hailing the performances of Tim Molenaar and Dan Robson, Davies also tipped his hat to Burns’ supreme goal-kicking prowess.

He continued: “We need a place kicker in the 80s to start winning games and get into positions to win trophies.

“And Freddie has stepped up to the mark, he’s been fantastic on that front.

“There’s never any easy game in France, and after a disappointing London Irish defeat it was great to get the result – that was all-important.

“We’ve won all five games in this pool so far and that’s not a bad record.”

Bordeaux full-back Lachie Munro’s two penalties trumped Burns’ one in the first 15 minutes to hand the home side a 6-3 lead.

Weak tackling and loose alignment then allowed wing Raphael Carballo to steal home for the game’s opening try, stunning the Cherry and Whites as Bordeaux plundered a 13-3 lead.

Fit-again Henry Trinder has played such little rugby of late, he will need time to hit top speed.

And he was out of position when he slipped off influential Bordeaux outside centre Charles Brousse for that try.

Two Burns penalties cut the deficit as Gloucester tried to shrug off their general malaise.

And then hooker Dawidiuk capped a ten-metre rolling maul to claw back the lead.

Burns’ conversion and another penalty put Gloucester 19-13 to the good.

But more sloppy defending allowed Bordeaux to turn around with a one-point advantage, prop Tamato Leopolu scuttling home for his side’s second try, again converted by Munro.

A Munro penalty opened the second half, with Burns responding in kind quickly.

Replacement hooker Huia Edmonds was sin-binned almost immediately after joining the fray, for killing the ball as Bordeaux broke dangerously.

And Munro’s penalty put Bordeaux 26-22 ahead heading into the final quarter.

Andrew Chaveau then walked to the bin too, to even up the teams again.

And Burns nervelessly cut the home lead to one point.

Bordeaux fly-half Camille Lopez then snatched at a drop-goal attempt, proving something of a let-off for Gloucester on another home raid into Cherry and Whites territory.

But the dogged visitors finally built some phases on their approach play, and duly won a penalty that owed everything to staying calm and just retaining the ball.

Burns once again delivered without a hint of worry, to hand his side a 28-26 lead.

With time ticking down impressive scrum-half Robson charged down Lopez, fly-hacked deep and raced after the loose ball.

Munro had to scoop up and try to find his bearings – but Robson hauled him over his own tryline, for a five-metre attacking Gloucester scrum.

At the set-piece Bordeaux folded, and the impressive Gloucester eight won another penalty.

Time was up on the clock but referee Andrew McMenemy allowed Burns to shoot at goal.

Another faultless strike was the outcome – signalling the final whistle that meant Gloucester secured an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final.

Beat Mont de Marsan in style at Kingsholm on Saturday and Gloucester can command a home tie in the competition’s last eight.

Who needs a classic when you can have a nail-biter that ends with nailing down knockout European action.

SCORERS:

BORDEAUX: Tries: Carballo (18), Leopolu (40). Cons: Munro 2 (18, 40). Pens: Munro 4 (3, 14, 46, 57).

GLOUCESTER: Tries: Dawidiuk (31). Cons: Burns (31). Pens: Burns 8 (5, 21, 24, 36, 54, 62, 76, 80).

BORDEAUX: L Munro, R Carballo, C Brousse (B Serin, 52), M Denetre, T Brana, C Lopez, J Seron (Felix Le Bourhis, 49), J Poirot (F Labbe, 65), H Forbes (F Rofes, 65), T Leopolu (N Descamps, 49), A Chaveau, F Tisseau, G Gibouin (Louis Madaule, 74), R Kitshoff (H Chalmers, 69), D Larrieu. Unused: C Navickas.

GLOUCESTER: R Cook, C Sharples, H Trinder (M Tindall, 70), T Molenaar, J May (M Thomas, 70), F Burns, D Robson, N Wood (D Murphy, 57), D Dawidiuk (H Edmonds, 56), D Chistolini (S Knight, 55), J Hamilton (capt), W James, S Kalamafoni, A Qera (D Dawidiuk, 65-67), B Morgan. Unused: P Buxton, G Evans, D Lewis.

YELLOW CARDS:

BORDEAUX: A Chaveau (62).

GLOUCESTER: Edmonds (57).

REFEREE: A MCMENEMY (SCO).

ATTENDANCE: 4,788.

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  • stew_gIos  |  May 17 2013, 4:39PM

    Yep! Our scrum is always underpowered when Hard℮n isn't in there propping.

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  • JimBatchelor  |  January 14 2013, 8:37PM

    You only have to look at who was available, the quality of the opposition and then who started and who sat on the bench to determine that Rupert Harden is the first choice tight head. The multi-identity troll peh45/akadau/glawsteruk1/Kap721/graybaggs/Gordon_P/etc. can deny it as much as he likes but he is never going to convince anyone with his incoherent and clueless rants.

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  • kenfarnwood  |  January 14 2013, 8:28PM

    Rupert Harden is our most talented tight head. He is several levels up the scale in class when compared to his rivals for the number 3. In fact, he is so far ahead and they can not truly be called rivals, that is why we need to get some decent back up for him. Back up that doesn't have to sit in the naughty bin through being unable to scrum correctly.

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  • RubenHall  |  January 14 2013, 7:44PM

    The clueless multi-troll, peh45akadau/glawsteruk1/graybaggs/Gordon_P/Kpa721/etc certainly knows all about jealousy. His jealousy of Mike Tindall led him to make unsubstantiated claims about Mike's contract offers, which were shown to be totally wrong when it was proven that Tindall had several contract offers on the table.

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  • Newilldon  |  January 14 2013, 7:31PM

    Harden will be greatly missed if he is not available for the weekend. We need to go into that game with our best and most powerful scrummager. Without Harden, the scrum will be underpowered yet again.

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  • sam_silent  |  January 14 2013, 7:28PM

    Harden is a superb tight-head and was having a marvellous season up until his injury. When he is absent, his power is so desperately missed in the scrum, as has been so patently demonstrated over recent weeks.

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  • CrunchMan  |  January 14 2013, 7:22PM

    Rupert Harden is the number 1 and the best tight head at Gloucester Rugby. That is why Nigel Davies selects him for the crucial games and why ND would have selected him to start against Tigers, Irish and Bordeaux if he had been fit.

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  • Don_Deakin  |  January 14 2013, 7:18PM

    Please, please, please can we have Harden back for the last Amlin cup pool game. I don't want another embarrassment such as we had at Welford Road in the scrum and in that final Sarries' scrum. Those things never have happen when Rupert Harden is available.

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  • Wilson640  |  January 14 2013, 6:59PM

    The fact is, Rupert Harden is our best and classiest tight head and he has come out top in every game he has played in this season. Rupert Harden has never has to spend ten minutes in a sin bin because he is not able to prop. Harden is sheer class.

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  • craigben  |  January 14 2013, 6:53PM

    So, for all his rubbishing of Harden, the clueless multi-troll pah45 ends up with more egg on his face having to accept the predictable, i.e. our scrum was demolished without Rupert Harden on Friday.

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