Brad Davies was on fine form against the Army last night
A YOUNG Gloucester side earned a thoroughly deserved 29-22 victory over the Army at Aldershot on Monday night.
Brad Davies was once again in excellent form and Gloucester got off to the perfect start when Jon Goodridge ran home from a close-range scrum in the first minute.
However, the Army came back with a penalty and then took the lead with a try from their number 11 Martin Lacey that was converted by the stand-off Rob Sweeney.
The Army were in frenetic mood and chased everything in a terrifically fast-paced encounter but Gloucester weathered the storm and re-took the lead after 12 minutes.
Davies aimed a penalty to touch from 40 metres and Gloucester drove the line-out to within touching distance of the line and when their drive was hauled down, the referee awarded a penalty try Davies converted.
Davies controlled the game well and his long, raking cross-field kick almost created a try for Rob Thirlby.
Gloucester continued to dominate and with Merriman, Will Matthews and Terry Sigley all showing up well in the forwards, the visitors scored a third try.
Thirlby created it with a fine 30 metre run before Merriman hit a line-out up the middle and Ali James went in for the score.
Gloucester's professionalism shone through and eight minutes before the break, they scored again. Davies kicked a penalty to close range and Matthews was driven over from the line-out to make the score 22-10.
The Army hit back in the second half, despite having their loosehead prop Matt Hopwood sinbinned. But it was not until the 59th minute that replacement scored from a scrum.
But with 11 minutes to go, Davies sealed the contest when he went over for a try he converted himself.
Although the Army's openside John Rasovo found the whitewash in the last minute, Coach Carl Douglas was delighted with the performance: "The game provided us with an opportunity for some of our younger Academy players to step up to the next level. I was very pleased with the contribution they made.
"It was a hard fought win, and we struggled to maintain our shape and structure in the second half, due to some enforced changes and a spirited army performance.
"But the senior players enabled the team to function effectively and come away the win. We are now looking forward to the challenge of travelling to Wasps in the a league in two weeks time."
KSM very much regrets that the supporters meeting, scheduled for 7.30 p.m. 1st February at Kingsholm, has been cancelled.
We had expected that David Barnes, the new chairman of the PRA and Bath prop, would be the guest speaker. We hope to have his company on another occasion
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).