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Worcester Warriors v Gloucester Rugby: Cherry and Whites slip to slender defeat

By The Citizen  |  Posted: May 10, 2014

  • A superb individual effort from Jonny May was not enough for Gloucester


Worcester Warriors 28 Gloucester 27

Freddie Burns missed a penalty at the death as relegated Worcester Warriors consigned Gloucester to a final day defeat.

The Cherry and Whites raced into a 17-3 lead mid-way through the first half thanks to tries from Jonny May, Shane Monahan and Ben Morgan before the Warriors fought back.

Scores from Semisi Tualava, Ryan Lamb and Josh Drauniniu saw the Warriors edge into the lead before May claimed the bonus-point try on 61 minutes.

But the lead continued to change hands as Lamb and Freddie Burns exchanging shots at goal.

And it was the former Gloucester man that had the final word as Burns fired wide with his last kick in a Cherry and White jersey before joining Leicester Tigers in the summer.

The defeat was a sombre end to hugely disappointing season but you could not fault the make-shift Gloucester side’s effort at Sixways.

With Charlie Sharples, Mike Tindall and Billy Twelvetrees are all ruled out through injury, Nigel Davies was forced to reshuffle his back-line for the trip to Sixways.

Henry Trinder was set to make his return to action but pulled out with a tight calf while Andrew Bulumakau also withdrew.

That saw injury hit Gloucester field a team without any specialist centres, with Burns pulling on the number 12 jersey next to Jonny May.

Billy Burns started at fly-half while Drew Cheshire and Will James came onto the bench.

While Worcester were already relegated, having notched up just one win during a dismal Premiership campaign, the injuries presented a perfect opportunity for them to finish with a bang.

Steph Reynolds, making his first Premiership start, was lively in the opening exchanges but it was Worcester that had the first real chance to score.

Having turned down a shot at goal they twice kicked to the corner in the search of the opening try but Augustin Creevy over-fired at the lineout.

Matt Kvesic ran the ball out but he lost possession just past the Gloucester try line to set alarm bells ringing.

They somehow managed to keep Worcester at bay and following a succession of scrum re-sets they were awarded a free-kick to clear their lines.

Worcester soon went on the attack through Chris Pennell and David Lemi but it was Gloucester that opened the scoring after capitalising on loose ball.

Freddie Burns released May, deep inside his 22, the England ace ignored Reynolds on his outside and raced around Drauniniu before easing past Ryan Lamb for a sensational try.

Burns failed to add the extras but it took Gloucester just two minutes to extend their lead.

This time it was Reynolds who raced along the left wing. He failed to beat Pennell on the outside before skipping inside several defenders until he was eventually hauled down.

The ball was spread right and after several phases quick hands from Jimmy Cowan and makeshift centre Burns allowed Monahan to squeeze in the corner.

Burns was once again off target but the try had put the Cherry and Whites into a 10-0 lead after just 14 minutes.

Lamb hit-back with a penalty on 19 minutes but it did not take long for Gloucester to re-exert their dominance.

They kicked to the corner after Worcester strayed offside and launched a driving lineout which rumbled over to hand Morgan an easy score.

Burns slotted the conversion despite the difficult conditions and the Cherry and Whites continued to cause the hosts problems every time they had the ball.

A superb break from Burns and pass to Monahan almost unlocked the Warriors’ porous defence once again but Pennell saved the day.

They cut the deficit on 31 minutes when Semisi Taulava was bundled over from a rolling maul.

Lamb missed the conversion but the hosts continued to pile on the pressure. Gloucester were dealt a blow when May was sin-binned for playing the ball at the breakdown and Worcester wasted no time in taking advantage.

Again they kicked to the corner and they threatened to power over for a second try.

It took the added weight of the Burns brothers to keep the rampaging Warriors pack out but the ball was recycled and former Gloucester fly-half Lamb darted over for a score he then converted to make it 17-15 at the interval.

Both sides enjoyed chances early in the second-half but it was Worcester that delivered after a superb break from Pennell.

Burns dinked the ball into the corner but Pennell, who should have been put under major pressure danced passed Billy Burns to go on the counter.

He took the wrong option, passing inside instead of to David Lemi , who was racing up on outside but possession was maintained and Lamb fired a cross-kick to the right-hand corner.

Drauniniu collected and he managed to beat Reynolds and Rob Cook with an impressive combination of footwork and power.

Lamb added the conversion to hand the Warriors a 22-15 lead and they continued to press.

But Gloucester weathered the storm and they went back in front shortly after the hour mark.

Billy Burns created the opening and he linked with Kalamafoni to send May over for his second try.

The try drew the Cherry and Whites level before Burns nudged his side into the lead.

But they threw their advantage away as Burns tried chipping his way out of his own 22. There was space on offer but given the score-line, clearing Gloucester’s lines had to be the priority.

Pennell went on the attack and only some desperate defence from the Cherry and Whites held Worcester out but Cook was sin-binned and Lamb took the points on offer.

Burns was then off-target with a long-range drop-goal but to the credit of Gloucester, now with Tom Young playing in the centre, continued to battle.

They marched down field and earned a penalty, which Burns made no mistake in converting to reclaim a slender lead.

But again they did themselves no favours as they conceded a penalty at the lineout and Lamb needed no second invite to boot the Warriors a point clear.

Burns had the opportunity to end his five year spell at Gloucester on a winning note as full-time approached but his penalty sailed agonisingly wide as down and out Worcester claimed just their second victory of the season.

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