The official website rounds up all of the news from Gloucester's 61-0 win over Calvisano at Kingsholm at Kingsholm, including the reaction of head coach Dean Ryan.
WITH NINE tries - including a hat-trick for Mark Foster - Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan declared himself 'very pleased' with the opening afternoon of pre-season action at Kingsholm on Saturday.
When they combined the bone-crunching power of their forward pack with the electric handling and finishing of Foster, James Simpson-Daniel and Jack Adams, Gloucester took some major steps forward ahead of their opening clash at Worcester in the Guinness Premiership.
"I was very pleased with the progress we made after our week in France and we have carried that on," said Ryan. "We had a good drive and a good scrum and we created some really good movement off the back of that.
"At this stage of the season it's about eradicating our vulnerability and we can build on that in the next couple of games. We look on good shape up front and in our kicking. There were also some lovely individual moments and that is good to see."
Calvisano struggled to live with the extreme power of Gloucester's scrum that included Phil Vickery for his first game of the season and were also subjected to a late going over from Patrice Collazo and Olivier Azam.
Gloucester found the line four times in the first half that varied in quality. When they played with pace and precision, Calvisano struggled to stay with them and once they went behind in the seventh minute, there was never a suggestion the home side would be unduly troubled.
After a yellow card for lock Lorenzo Cittadini, Gloucester produced a huge shove on a defensive scrum, won the ball against the head and cut the Calvisano defence apart. Haydn Thomas, who showed glimpses of real talent as the game progressed from scrum-half, linked with Duncan McRae and he managed to get his pass away to Henry Paul who sent Jack Adams to the line.
The young centre was impressive in everything he did during the first half. He cut threatening lines, looked to break and off-load with equal quality and defended well when required. But the second try, after eight minutes, was all to do with Simpson-Daniel's soft-shoe shuffle.
He fielded a clearance kick that was designed for touch and sliced his way through a thicket of defenders and in for the score.
McRae converted both and Gloucester found themselves 14-0 ahead. Gloucester's best work occurred in the first quarter and their third try came after 17 minutes. McRae's pass sent Adams hurtling through midfield and instead of going for the line, he put James Merriman in with an overhead pass.
For the remainder of the half, Gloucester boxed away without extracting the fluency or dynamism they would have hoped for and Calvisano produced a period of pressure for themselves without getting over the line.
They had trouble contending with Gloucester's greater power when they cranked it up at close quarters and it was another powerful scrum that created the fourth try. Adam Eustace picked up possession when a scrum wheeled round and Alex Brown made the last few metres for the score.
It took Simpson-Daniel only six minutes to weave his magic in the second half with a slashing break from McRae's pass. He looked to have taken possession on too far, but got his pass away to Foster who crossed for the first of his treble.
Foster's second arrived after 54 minutes when he took a pass from Adams following a neat ball from Paul and rushed home in the corner to leave Gloucester 40-0 ahead.
Paul was then instrumental in a brilliant team score after an hour. After selling a wonderful dummy deep in his own half, Paul strode forward up the touchline and found Foster in support. Foster's inside ball was taken on by McRae, Alex Brown and then Andy Hazell before Ludovic Mercier - returning to a hero's welcome - dived in for the try to complete a sensational move.
After Simpson-Daniel limped off with an ankle injury, Rob Thirlby put Jon Goodridge in for the eighth try before Thomas's break from a scrum, allowed Foster to seal his hat-trick and complete a fine afternoon's work for Ryan's side.
GLOUCESTER: Rob Thirlby, Mark Foster, Jack Adams (Ludovic Mercier 57), James Simpson-Daniel (Jon Goodridge 52), Duncan McRae, Haydn Thomas, Nick Wood, Mefin Davies (Olivier Azam 61), Phil Vickery (Gary Powell 61), Adam Eustace, Adam Brown (Mark Cornwell 61), Pete Buxton, James Merriman (Andy Hazell 50), Adam Balding (capt). Scorers: Tries: Foster (3), Adams, Simpson-Daniel, Brown, Merriman, Goodridge, Mercier. Cons: McRae (6), Mercier (2).
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
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.
On a tough evening at Kingsholm, Gloucester could escape neither a suffocating Bath defence, nor the whistle of referee Greg Garner as six penalties and a penalty try paved the way to a 39-16 win for the visitors.
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).