So much heart and passion from Gloucester Rugby at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday afternoon, but a second half interception try for Irish proved to be crucial as the Exiles hung on for a 24-20 Gallagher Premiership win.
Things aren’t quite going the way of the Cherry and Whites at the moment. Up against an in-form Irish side, who had won two on the bounce going into this one and unaffected by international call-ups, they gave it everything.
However, as often happens when a side is desperately looking for a win, the intangibles can often seem to go against you and that was the case for Gloucester Rugby at the Madesjki Stadium on Saturday.
They achieved parity on the possession and territory stakes, and were within striking range for almost all the game, but couldn’t quite get back on terms.
An early Billy Twelvetrees penalty gave hope that it was going to be a good afternoon. However, a defensive miscommunication saw Ollie Hassell-Collins go over in the corner for a 5-3 lead, and the winger then broke a tackle to stretch over for his second.
10-3 down, the Cherry and Whites then spent much of the remainder of the first half camped in the Irish 22, but didn’t come away with anything for their efforts, a late Twelvetrees penalty drifting wide of the uprights.
Gloucester Rugby started the second period with fire in their bellies, but suffered a real blow when they were threatening the Irish line, Hassell-Collins intercepting and going 90 metres for his hat-trick. It was a huge moment.
Credit to the Cherry and Whites, they fought so hard to get back on terms. Charlie Chapman showed real opportunism to dart over after a strong scrummaging effort before Ollie Thorley finished well after great hands from Danny Cipriani.
Trailing just 17-15, Gloucester Rugby seemed to have real momentum, but a ball went loose in midfield and the Exiles efficiently exploited the superiority in numbers to send Hassell-Collins over for his fourth try.
Louis Rees-Zammit went over in the corner to narrow the gap to 24-20 with ten minutes to go but, although there were a couple of half chances, Gloucester Rugby couldn’t quite get back on terms.