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.
Gloucester-Hartpury Women take on West Park Leeds Ladies in the final of the Intermediate Cup at Royal Wootton Bassett RFC on Saturday. Rebecca de Filippo and Gemma Sharples took time out from training to preview the game.
Speaking to the local media this week, front row forward John Afoa spoke of the squad's targets for this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup Quarter Final with Cardiff Blues at Kingsholm. Despite taking on new opponents, the squad know the focus is on themselves to get the job done as knockout rugby kicks in.
Gloucester-Hartpury Women take on West Park Leeds Ladies in the final of the Intermediate Cup Final on Saturday. Head Coach Susie Appleby took time out to preview the game and chat about the future for the team.
Number eight Ben Morgan admitted that the 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol on Friday evening hadn't been pretty at times, but that the win was based on everyone in the squad remaining united and working for each other.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
In the aftermath of the Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell was able to look forward to this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues (Kingsholm, kick off 8:05pm).