Led by the brilliant Justin Marshall, the former All Black scrum-half, a heavy-duty carrying game from Filo Tiatia and some expert scavenging from Marty Holah, the Ospreys were always in control.
But this is not a time for Gloucester to start doubting where they have come from this season. A victory in their last home pool game against Ulster on Sunday will guarantee them a place in the knockout stages, they scored two tries of their own and will feel bitterly aggrieved at some of the officiating at the contact area, where players off their feet and on top of the ball reduced the contest to a messy, cynical slug-fest.
One thing is for sure, it's not all doom and gloom down Kingsholm way.
"We arrived at the contest late in terms of our physicality and we started badly by not being able to deal with high kicks," said head coach Dean Ryan. "When that happens it is hard to recover and we didn't.
"There were certain things that happened that will make us pretty angry this week ahead of Ulster, that is for sure. But in terms of the group, nothing has really changed. We have one game to go to reach the knockout stages and I think any team would settle for that scenario at this stage.
Although it was Marshall who caught they eye with a delicious all-round performance that mixed astute tactical kicking, an eye for a break and huge level of physicality, it was a returning member of the Ospreys' backline that created the first try.
Gloucester were already 3-0 behind to a fourth minute James Hook penalty when Gavin Henson manufactured a try from nothing - and a serious Gloucester mistake.
He fielded a wild Hook pass and had no option but to stick up a bomb. It could and should have been fielded by any one of three Gloucester defenders but Leon Lloyd, Gareth Cooper and Iain Balshaw let the ball bounce and although Balshaw got back to make a brilliant tackle on Henson, Shane Williams scored down the short side from a ruck.
Already 10-0 behind and already testing the patience of the referee, Gloucester's hopes looked bleak. Alex Brown was withdrawn with a suspected broken arm and although Marco Bortolami waged war in the line-out and Gareth Delve carried hard, Gloucester were obliterated at the tackle area, where the Ospreys got just the sort of contest they were looking for.
Hook kicked an 18th minute penalty to make it 13-0 and although Ryan Lamb got Gloucester on the board with three points of his own, Hook landed penalties after 27 and 36 minutes to take the hosts 19-3 ahead.
The last of his first-half efforts also resulting in a yellow card for Peter Buxton, despite the fact Marshall appeared to have dived.
Despite the fact the scrums were just about even, Gloucester had no platform into the contest and were forced to defend for vast periods as the Ospreys searched for the try that may have prompted a hunt for a bonus point.
The fact it didn't come until late was testament to Gloucester's defence and although Hook made it 22-3 with a 50th minute penalty, they did hit back with a try of their own. It was hugely simple in its execution - Alasdair Strokosch held a line-out catch, Christian Califano come off on the peel and replacement scrum-half Rory Lawson shot through an alarming gap to race 40 metres for the score.
Chris Paterson nudged over the penalty to make it 22-10 but there was never any hint of a recovery. They turned over ball, failed to control it well enough and were nudged about at the contact area. Only in the final quarter did they start trading fire with fire but by then the work of Tiatia and co had already been done.
Gloucester also played the last quarter with only six forwards. Luke Narraway, who had only been on the field for three minutes, was yellow carded for alleged use of bad language, although it was not directed towards an official and then Olivier Azam was binned for forcing Holah back at a ruck after the New Zealand flanker and come over the top.
Both decisions may have been somewhat harsh but summed up Gloucester's work - disjointed, lacking patience and out-smarted - and it was little surprise when replacement Richard Hibbard was bundled over for the Ospreys' second try two minutes from time.
And had Ryan Lamb not run onto Mike Tindall's little kick in the dying stages of the contest, Gloucester's defeat would have been even more accurate.
This will leave a nasty taste in the mouth for some time to come - Kingsholm may well be an angry place next week - just as Ryan intends.
|Ospreys Score Card|
|Gloucester Rugby Score Card|