Gloucester Rugby put in a spirited shift that deserved more, against the Premiership’s league toppers, Exeter Chiefs.
It was always going to be a tough test against Exeter Chiefs but Gloucester Rugby showed their character by staying in the fight and running in three tries against the Premiership table toppers.
Exeter Chiefs were clinical, running in five tries through Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Simmonds, Jonny Hill, Ian Witten and Jack Maunder and it was clear to see why they have such a big lead at the top of the league.
But Gloucester Rugby were up for the challenge and were in contention for much of the first half.
Matt Banahan proved that there’s plenty of life left in his legs when he went over for his try in the first half. It was George Barton, who was on as a blood replacement for Tom Hudson at the time, who made an arching break and put Banahan in a bit of space. The winger had a handful of Exeter players hot in pursuit but he managed to get over the line for the Cherry and Whites.
A Billy Twelvetrees penalty had put the Cherry and Whites ahead for a period of the game but it was just before the break that Exeter managed to establish a real lead and after that, the pressure was off and the tries kept coming.
Gloucester Rugby weren’t done yet though and it was Banahan who got over for his sides second try later on in the game.
In the final few minutes of the game it was the Cherry and Whites who looked the better team. Josh Gray produced an outstanding piece of skill to grubber the ball through and put it down for a try that any forward could only dream of scoring.
Although it was a disappointing result, there were plenty of key individual performances for Gloucester Rugby to be proud of. Jordy Reid made a number of crunching tackles which reverberated around the empty stands and was part of a powerful and physical pack that worked hard all game. Danny Drake made metres with every carry he made and George Barton showed what he could do when given a bit of space.
Key moment - Josh Gray’s wonder try
With less than five minutes left on the clock Gloucester Rugby were still fighting for everything they could and it was Josh Gray who managed to capitalise and get over for a score. The blindside flanker received the ball from Reid and kicked it with the precision of a footballer to curve it around Henry Slade and then collect it for the try. A piece of skill executed to perfection!
How it happened
Gloucester Rugby are back in action on Monday at Kingsholm when they host Harlequins in Round 20 of the Gallagher Premiership.