GLOUCESTER'S electrifying start to the Guinness A League continued last night when they combined the precision, power and penetration of their forwards with some scintillating back play.
They followed their victory over Bath with an eight-try mauling of Wasps, running out 52-12 winners in front of a large and appreciative Kingsholm crowd.
From the lung-busting strides of James Merriman and the ceaseless efforts of Luke Narraway to the impish skills of Ryan Lamb, the pace of James Bailey and Marcel Garvey, Gloucester were superior throughout and provided a brilliant advert for A League rugby.
There were also powerful contributions from Terry Sigley, Jack Forster and Dean Miller as Gloucester set about the visitors from the first whistle.
They were already 6-0 ahead in the 14th minute when they grabbed their first try. Narraway somehow charged through a scrum up the middle of the field and linked with tearaway Merriman.
Possession was shipped to the left and Lamb's long pass picked out full-back Vince Lanciano who slid home in the far corner.
Gloucester made it 18-0 after 22 minutes following more incisive movement in the backs. Anthony Allen, a centre who picked threatening angles all night, made the crucial incision, Brad Davies offered support and through a thicket of defenders, James Bailey slashed his way to the line.
Bailey was to have a hand in the third try just before the break. His outside break close to the touchline was halted fractionally short of the line but he managed to pop his pass found Allen who lunged over.
Wasps' only response was a try from Tim Foster before the break but the one-way traffic continued after the interval. The predatory Lamb was next to cross - intercepting a pass in midfield and galloping away to score.
Gloucester's power up front began to tell - Sigley, Forster and Cornwell all turning the screw and Narraway's latest powerful surge was finished off by Merriman, who again showed excellent support instincts.
Merriman was to score again after 52 minutes when a powerful line-out drive in the far corner ended with the breakaway at the bottom of the pile to make it 40-7.
Wasps did make the most of a massive man advantage with 13 minutes remaining to create a second try for Foster, but it hardly mattered. Replacement Dan Touhy grabbed the seventh try when Lanciano fielded Davies' cross-field kick and he put the second row home.
And in the last minute, Allen, full of verve and swerve, linked with Bailey and Chris McNeill found his way home to complete the scoring.
GLOUCESTER: Vince Lanciano; James Bailey, Anthony Allen, Brad Davies, Marcel Garvey; Ryan Lamb, Danny Pointon; Terry Sigley, James Parkes, Jack Forster, Mark Cornwell, Jonathan Pendlebury, Dean Miller, James Merriman, Luke Narraway. Reps all used: Ben Gerry, Kevin Moran, Dan Touhy, Will Jones, George Evans, Tom Maynard, Chris McNeill.
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
Speaking after a last-gasp try from Exeter earned the Chiefs a 27-27 draw at Sandy Park on Saturday, Charlie Sharples admitted to mixed feelings. The game saw him score a try on his 200th competitive appearance for the club, but the frustration from not closing out the win was clear.
David Humphreys was minutes away from a winning interview on Saturday afternoon, but a late try from Exeter Chiefs meant the points were shared at Sandy Park. Humphreys spoke with the local media after the 27-27 draw.
Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture away at Exeter Chiefs, Director of Rugby David Humphreys reiterated that there are elements of Gloucester's game that are in good shape at present, that the performance against Bath was a step forward from Newcastle but that individual errors are costing the Cherry and Whites dear.
Lesley Vainikolo was a welcome visitor to Kingsholm this week, reminiscing as he wandered around the stadium. The big winger is back in Gloucester to take part in Sunday's Mitsubishi Motors UK Hybrid Cup (kick off 3pm).
Centre Matt Scott, a try-scorer in Bayonne last weekend, insists that Gloucester are taking nothing for granted when they welcome Benetton Treviso to Kingsholm on Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup (kick off 3pm).