Gloucester United scored three tries in a 48-19 defeat against an experienced Leicester Tigers in the Guinness A League at Welford Road on Monday evening.
Louis Deacon and Alesana Tuilagi returned from lengthy injury absences for the Tigers and flanker Ben Woods grabbed a hat-trick on his return from a knee ligament problem.
It was Tuilagi who opened the scoring after Gloucester captain Willie Walker had missed an early penalty for the visitors and Sam Vesty added a second score after full-back Jack Cobden produced a brilliant tackle on opposite number Freddie Burns and then launched the counter-attack.
After Woods forced his way over from close range to make it 15-0, Gloucester grabbed their first points as Jack Adams' grubber kick created a chance for Dan Norton to score on the right. Walker completed the seven-point score from the touchline.
Ayoola Erinle set up a second try of the evening for Tigers flanker Woods and Vesty's conversion made it 22-7 at the break.
Woods claimed his hat-trick try 19 minutes into the second half with a drive through two defenders to score under the posts and Greig Tonks chipped over the conversion to make it 29-7.
Gloucester replacement Charlie Sharples then slipped through the Tigers defence to race in on the right and give Mark Cornwell's side renewed hope of a fightback.
But replacement Dan Hemingway collected Elliott Read's pass to dive over on the left just a moment later and Tonks converted to put Tigers 34-12 ahead.
Gloucester full-back Burns drove over to score under the posts for the visitors' third try and got up to convert his own score before No8 Ben Pienaar and wing Tom Varndell rounded off the scoring for the hosts.
TONIGHT there is a meet the players evening in the Star Suite at Kingsholm from 7.15pm. Olly Barkley, Greg Somerville and Matthew Watkins will be in attendance. Entry is by season ticket book or 1873 Club lanyard.
As Gloucester prepare for their 39th game of the season, against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways on Sunday, David Humphreys told the local media that this week has been all about getting the players mentally and physically ready after a tough game against Connacht last Sunday.
Speaking to GRTV after the 40-32 victory over Connacht on Sunday, skipper Billy Twelvetrees explained that Gloucester had had to learn to be patient and cut out the errors to earn the win and progress to next weekend's final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles.
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Tongan international forward Sione Kalamafoni returns after injury to take up his usual place in the back row as Gloucester look to finish their season on a high against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways on Sunday.
Gloucester Rugby is delighted to confirm that 18 year old Mat Protheroe, a product of Hartpury College and one of the brightest young talents in the English game, has signed a senior contract at Kingsholm.