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.
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).