Gloucester 16-9 Exeter: Ollie Thorley scores only try as Cherry and Whites beat Chiefs
Gloucester ended their five-match losing run with a 16-9 win against Exeter
The pair went into the break scoreless at Kingsholm
Debutant Ollie Thorley’s score combined with Greig Laidlaw’s boot secured the win for the hosts
The Chiefs tally was made up of three penalties from Gareth Steenson
Ollie Thorley scored a try on his Aviva Premiership debut as Gloucester ended their five-match losing run by overcoming high-flying Exeter Chiefs in front of a vibrant Kingsholm crowd on Friday night.
The Cherry and Whites had been on their worst run since 2012 following five back-to-back defeats, but inspired by Greig Laidlaw’s leadership and accurate kicking as well as colossal performances from back-rowers Matt Kvesic and Ben Morgan, they were able to get back to winning ways.
Chiefs defeat meanwhile means they will have to wait again as they look to secure their first ever play-off finish ever. They did however leave with what could be a crucial losing bonus-point.
Prior to kick-off, there was a minute of intense applause to honour Gloucester’s former popular centre Martin Roberts, who died suddenly at the age of 48 last weekend. He made his top-flight debut in 1990 and went on to make 47 league starts for the Cherry and Whites, contributing 66 points in league games.
The opening 40 of the game was a battle of attrition in testing conditions with the pair heading into the break as they started, pointless.
Gareth Steenson took just two minutes after the restart to finally open the scoring, slotting his first attempt at goal from over 40 metres out to give the visitors a narrow three-point lead.
Two minutes later the game well and truly came to life as Gloucester opened the try-scoring through debutant Ollie Thorley. The hosts kept it rolling following Ben Morgan’s initial powerful burst and then with numbers out wide, Tom Savage offloaded a ball inside to the England U20 winger, who ran it to put the Cherry and Whites ahead.
Greig Laidlaw then added the extras, 7-3.
Steenson and Laidlaw then traded penalties as Gloucester continued to hold a narrow four-point lead heading into the games final quarter.
Chiefs reliable kicker Steenson narrowed the gap again with 15 minutes to go but following a harsh yellow card to Jack Nowell for a dangerous tackle, the hosts once again went four clear through Laidlaw, 13-9.
Laidlaw then slotted his third penalty, taking his total for the evening to 11 points, to secure the crucial win while leaving Exeter having to content themselves with a losing bonus point.
MAN OF THA MATCH
Gloucester: Matt Kvesic
Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Rob Cook, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Henry Trinder, 10 James Hook, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Tom Savage, 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Nick Wood, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Ollie Thorley, 23 Jacob Rowan
Exeter: 15 Lachlan Turner, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Gareth Steenson (c), 9 Will Chudley, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Don Armand, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Carl Rimmer, 19 Damian Welch, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Michele Campagnaro, 23 James Short
Date: Friday, April 15
Kick-off: 19:45 BST (18:45 GMT)
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Robin Goodliffe, Roger Baileff
TMO: Trevor Fisher