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-Hartpury Women take on West Park Leeds Ladies in the final of the Intermediate Cup Final on Saturday. Head Coach Susie Appleby took time out to preview the game and chat about the future for the team.
Number eight Ben Morgan admitted that the 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol on Friday evening hadn't been pretty at times, but that the win was based on everyone in the squad remaining united and working for each other.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
In the aftermath of the Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell was able to look forward to this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues (Kingsholm, kick off 8:05pm).