Having battled their way bravely back into the game at Sale Sharks, Gloucester Rugby looked as though the win would slip away as Rob du Preez lined up a last minute penalty. But the Sale fly-half hit the post and the Cherry and Whites hung on for a 16-18 victory.
Such a turnaround looked unlikely at half-time. The Sharks led 10-0 at half-time at the turnaround and were good value for it. The Cherry and Whites had defended valiantly, but the home team could have been further ahead.
There had only been one defensive lapse, a slight gap left around a ruck leading to a try from Byron McGuigan, Rob du Preez converting and then adding a penalty. When du Preez added a 48th minute penalty, things looked grim.
But, crucially, Gloucester Rugby hit back quickly. Danny Cipriani’s cute chip over the top led to a try for Mark Atkinson and the Cherry and Whites had self-belief and a spring in their stride.
Another key contribution from the fly-half, this time with ball in hand, resulted in Tom Marshall diving over for the second try and it was game on at 13-12.
The final quarter though was a nervy affair. Twelvetrees nudged his team in front, 13-15, with a 64th minute penalty only for du Preez to respond in kind three minutes later. Twelvetrees then added his second penalty, but missed a subsequent attempt with two minutes left to play.
It led to a thrilling last minute of action. Freddie Clarke was sinbinned for a deliberate knock-on and the Cherry and Whites then had to defend a five metre lineout and a five metre scrum.
A penalty was awarded and du Preez had the chance to be a hero. It’s a game of fine margins and, on this occasion, Gloucester Rugby had luck on their side, His kick hit the post and stayed out, Joe Simpson cleared and the Cherry and Whites were able to celebrate a fine win on the road.