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
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).