Gloucester Rugby U18s 41 - 17 Wasps U18s | Report by Jon Davies
Gloucester Rugby U18s continued their perfect start to this season’s Covid-disrupted campaign with a convincing 41-17 win over Wasps at Cheltenham Tigers RFC.
The win follows successive victories in their opening two matches of their U18 campaign against Leicester Tigers and Worcester Warriors.
Tries from Iwan Glynn (2), Rob Nixon, Morgan Adderly-Jones, Tom Bridge and Tom Worts sealed the win, with fly-half Conor Murphy contributing 11 points with a penalty and four conversions.
The hosts made a bright start and were quickly on the scoreboard with centre Iwan Glynn going over for the first try following good work from the Gloucester forwards.
Opponents Wasps soon hit back with a strong spell of forward pressure close to the Gloucester Rugby try-line eventually resulting in flanker Fyn Brown scoring from close range, although a missed conversion meant Gloucester led 7-5 early on.
That lead was soon given up when Wasps spread the ball out wide for winger Eparama Rokodrava, who showed great skill in committing a couple of Cherry & White defenders before offloading to supporting full-back Dan Barnett who ran in under the posts to give Wasps the lead for the first time.
In an entertaining first-half that developed into an end-to-end affair, the two sides traded further tries with U18s captain Rob Nixon charging through defenders to level the scores at 12-12, before repeated surges from the Wasps forwards saw flanker Kofi Cripps crash over to put Wasps back in front at 17-12 after half-an-hour.
The home side once again hit back to end the half well with Iwan Glynn getting his second try of the match in the corner, before some nice footwork from Glynn’s centre partner Morgan Adderly-Jones saw the No.12 sidestep a defender and run in for the fifth try of the half, converted by Murphy to give Gloucester a 26-17 lead at the break.
A penalty from Murphy early in the second-half extended Gloucester’s lead, although Wasps responded with a sustained spell of pressure inside the Cherry & White half.
The Gloucester defence however was up to the challenge and survived the attacking onslaught without conceding any points, before wrapping the match up in the final quarter.
A break down the wide channel from replacement Gloucester hooker George Merritt pushed the hosts deep into Wasps territory, and despite the move eventually breaking down, replacement scrum-half Tom Bridge dotted over for the try following good work from captain Rob Nixon at the back of a 5m scrum.
It proved a particularly popular score with Bridge returning to action following 31 months out with an ACL injury.
With the match slipping away from Wasps, replacement Tom Worts added some gloss to the score showing an impressive burst of speed with a break-away try from the half-way line, with Murphy adding the extras to seal a deserved 41-17 Gloucester win.
Speaking after the match, Gloucester Rugby’s U18s Head Coach Matt Teague said: “I was very pleased with the performance, the physicality they showed today against a much bigger Wasps side was great and just to see the boys’ energy and enthusiasm to want to play was fantastic.”
Junior Academy Manager Alex Guest added: “Its obviously pleasing to win but the biggest thing for us is our performances are getting better, so we’re scoring more points and defensively we’re a lot better than where we started which is testament to the boys asking questions of themselves.”
Gloucester Rugby U18s round off their campaign with a trip to Truro College to play Exeter Chiefs next Saturday.