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#ThursdayTales: LV Cup Final 2011

#ThursdayTales: LV Cup Final 2011
LV Cup 2011

In 2010, Gloucester Rugby had reached the final of the LV Cup, where they met Northampton at Sixways, Worcester. A try by Nicky Robinson, disallowed late in the game, was the difference between the sides, and meant a sunny day ended in disappointment with a 24-30 defeat.

A year later it was a different story as Gloucester went one step better, although the campaign did not start well, with a 12-18 loss to Newport Gwent Dragons on a damp and dismal November evening at Rodney Parade. A week later, Gloucester bounced back, dominated possession against Saracens at Kingsholm, and ran out comfortable winners 36-10, with Henry Trinder contributing two of five tries, one from an interception in his own 22.

Next up was a long journey to Headingley to take on Leeds, where a hard fought game ended in victory, 30-16, after Lesley Vainikolo had opened the scoring. Then it was back to Kingsholm, where London Irish were swept aside in a riot of scoring in the first half. Gloucester had the bonus point secured with half an hour, and finished with six tries, two of them from Charlie Sharples as they ran out 41-8 winners.

The semi-final saw a rematch with the Dragons, but this time at Kingsholm, and a very different story to first time round. The home pack dominated a physical game, and Charlie Sharples made the most of it with four tries as it became a 45-17 rout.

So to the final against Newcastle on a sunny afternoon at Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton, which saw Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu play perhaps his finest game for Gloucester. Early on Gloucester worked a position in the Newcastle 22, and quick passing put Tom Voyce over in the corner. Nicky Robinson converted, and after 20 minutes added a penalty. Gloucester were dominating the exchanges, but did not add to the score before half-time, although the defence was very sound in keeping Newcastle out.

The second half initially lacked the intensity and precision of the first, and all Gloucester had to show in the third quarter was another Robinson penalty. But the beginning of the final quarter saw a stylish move on the left by the Gloucester backs involving Matt Cox, Robinson and Fuimaono-Sapolu, who between them sliced open the Newcastle defence for an elegant try. Robinson then saw to it that Newcastle were hemmed in close to their line. The backs put together a move which resulted in Charlie Sharples crossing in the corner. There were near misses at both ends as the match ran down, and Eves scored for Newcastle to put them on the score sheet. In the dying seconds of the game Gloucester mounted a catch and drive which saw Darren Dawidiuk touch down, and Robinson’s conversion made the final score 34-7.

What a fine day out!


With thanks to Malc King and Gloucester Rugby Heritage.
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