GLOUCESTER made it three wins out of three in the Guinness A League last night with a comprehensive six-try success over Leicester.
When they combined their slickness in attack with some dangerous and powerful running, Gloucester were too strong for an inexperienced Leicester side, who managed one try through full-back Rickie Aley late on but were well beaten 45-8.
There were some impressive and disciplined performances on the Gloucester side and once they got into their attacking stride, simply over-whelmed a Tigers side that operated for much of the night without a regular supply of territory or possession.
Gloucester's back three of Mark Foster, Charlie Sharples and Iain Balshaw menaced throughout. Foster, physical and strong, crossed once and looked dangerous every time he carried the ball, Sharples collected a hat-trick and Balshaw got through 60 minutes on his return from a groin injury.
Gloucester had more than enough possession for Foster and the like to strut their stuff in the first-half but there were also impressive performances from number eight Andres Pretorious, who was safe as houses under the re-starts and carried hard into the contact area and flanker Guy Thompson, who was quick and aggressive throughout.
Hooker Scott Lawson was also accurate at line-out time and was dynamic going forward and after Foster and Balshaw had combined to break free down the left, Ryan Lamb kicked Gloucester into a second minute lead with a penalty.
Then, two minutes later, Gloucester got their first try. They controlled a scrum close to the sticks and Pretorious and scrum-half Jordi Pasqualin combined before Sharples finished off in the corner.
Their 8-0 lead soon became 15-0 when Foster surged forward and Henry Trinder finished off following more good work from Pasqualin and a lovely pass from Lamb. An inexperienced Tigers side gave it their utmost in the set-piece and through the powerful surges of Manu Tuilagi, but Gloucester were slicker and faster.
Foster was the next on the score-sheet when Lamb and the equally impressive Freddie Burns made sizeable midfield holes and the winger was able to score comfortably down the left to make it 22-0.
The try blitz was interrupted by a succession of penalties - Aley's 27th minute effort got Leicester on the board - but Gloucester responded with two from Lamb after 31 and 35 minutes to take the hosts 28-3 clear.
But there was still time in the first-half for Gloucester to secure their bonus point try. Dave Young carried hard and as the Gloucester forwards churned out yet more possession, Pasqualin, Lamb and Balshaw all used the ball well for Sharples to grab his second.
In the second half, Gloucester struggled to re-create their potency, despite dominating the contest for long periods. To Leicester's credit, they worked wonderfully hard in defence and tried desperately to go from deep but they were out-gunned for the majority of the contest.
The contest was deep into the final quarter before Gloucester scored their fifth try. The impressive Burns launched the move before Gloucester dragged play to the right and Sharples collected his hat-trick in the corner.
There was still time for Leicester to get their try when the powerfully constructed Tuilagi carried hard and Aley finished off the move in the far corner to make it 40-8.
But Gloucester had the final say when Trinder scored try number six to ease Gloucester to a highly commanding victory.
Gloucester have been in good form in recent weeks, but Backs Coach Tim Taylor knows that the Cherry and Whites will have to be at their best on Thursday evening (kick off 7:45pm) against a Stade Rochelais side flying high this season.
Speaking to GRTV after the bonus point win over Bristol, back row Lewis Ludlow revealed that despite a tricky first half, Gloucester backed their skills to come through, a faith that was evident in a strong second half showing.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Having named an unchanged starting XV for the past three Aviva Premiership games, Gloucester Rugby ring the changes and retain only five players for Thursday's visit of Stade Rochelais in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (kick off 7:45pm).