Conditions were testing at a rainy Kingsholm, but Gloucester Rugby made light of them as they ran in four tries on their way to a comprehensive 29-6 Heineken Champions Cup win over Montpellier on Saturday.
It wasn’t easy, it was a victory that had to be worked for as Montpellier, in the first half in particular, brought real line speed in defence and genuine physicality. It took the Cherry and Whites a while to find a way to break them down, but persistence paid off.
In fact, the visitors took a 20th minute lead courtesy of a Frans Steyn penalty, but a burst of speed from Louis-Rees Zammit and a well-timed offload to Willi Heinz saw the skipper go under the posts and get Gloucester Rugby off and running.
7-3 at half time, but the Cherry and Whites have been a second-half team in recent weeks and it proved to be the case once again.
Ollie Thorley brought the stadium to its feet with a 90 metre break from the restart, Billy Twelvetrees adding a penalty as Montpellier killed the ball.
Gloucester Rugby now had real self-belief, and no little skill, Jason Woodward showing incredible hands to palm the ball on to Louis Rees-Zammit who had the pace to slide in at the corner for the second try after a spell of pressure in the Montpellier 22.
Darmon narrowed the gap to 15-6 with a 56th minute penalty, but Gloucester Rugby didn’t waste any time extending the lead as Ben Morgan forced his way over the line under a pile of bodies, Twelvetrees adding the conversion.
Montpellier’s Paul Willemse was yellow carded for sacking a maul as the visitors’ discipline started to slip and, in his absence, Todd Gleave touched down after a well-executed catch and drive, richly deserved after a fine performance from the hooker.
The win keeps the Cherry and Whites in the hunt for a place in the quarter-finals as they travel to Toulouse next Sunday with their hopes very much alive.