Gloucester 24-22 Worcester: Cherry and Whites edge past local rivals
David Halaifonua scores match winning try for Gloucester against Worcester
Cooper Vuna scores two tries for the away side
Cherry and Whites move up to third in the table following win
Gloucester put last week’s disappointing defeat to Saracens behind them by defeating south west rivals Worcester in a tight affair at Kingsholm on Saturday.
Two tries in the opening five minutes of the game set the tone of the match, a fast-paced encounter with everything on the line.
James Hook put Gloucester in excellent field position following a penalty before forward momentum carried hooker Richard Hibbard across the line after just three minutes to send the home fans wild.
However, within two minutes Worcester had restored parity when a stray Billy Meakes pass was intercepted by Cooper Vuna, who touched down for a try that fly-half Tom Heathcote neatly converted.
Willi Heinz, deputising for the rested Greg Laidlaw, thought he had scored off the back of Worcester scrum, but the referee had already blown for a penalty, which Billy Twelvetrees fired over with ease.
Sione Kalamafoni scored for Gloucester after consultation with the video official, with Twelvetrees missing the conversion, but nailing a penalty to give the home side a double-digit advantage.
However, Worcester hit back with ten unanswered points. Ryan Mills’s penalty was followed by a try from Niall Annett after the referee had allowed a double throw at the line-out, and the Worcester pack drove Gloucester back across their line, with Heathcote converting.
But within nine minutes of the restart, Vuna scored his second in front of Gloucester’s vocal Shed but Lamb missed the resulting kick.
Halaifonua scored Gloucester third try, but Hook missed the kick, ensuring the remainder of the game would be tense for the home fans, with just a two-point advantage.
Nick Schonert saw yellow late on for Worcester, and just when it looked like they would steal the win, Darren Barry threw a forward pass with the try line in sight, which ended the game, with the points going in favour of Gloucester.
Man Of The Match
Gloucester: David Halaifonua
There are several candidates who could have picked up the man of the match award, with several players having a big impact on the game. Cooper Vurna was in good form for Worcester, scoring two tries while fly-half Tom Heathcote enjoyed a better performance this time out. For Gloucester several player stood out, Twelvetress had a bad day with the boot but controlled the pace of the game, ensuring Gloucester had more possession of the ball, and Hook was sensational at fly-half, but it is Halaifouna who takes the award.
The Tongan enjoyed a standout game, breaking tackles and making progress with the ball in hand. He put his body on the line and made several big tackles for the Cherry and Whites. To top of his impressive performance, he scored the game-winning try which saw Gloucester move into third place.
Gloucester: 15 Charlie Sharples, 14 David Halaifonua, 13 Billy Twelvetrees (capt), 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Jonny May, 10 James Hook, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Sione Kalamafoni, 4 Tom Savage, 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paddy McAllister.
Replacements: 16 Chris Brooker, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Jacob Rowan, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Henry Purdy.
Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Tom Biggs, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 GJ van Velze (c), 7 Marco Mama, 6 Phil Dowson, 5 Tevita Cavubati, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Na’ama Leleimalefaga.
Replacements: 16 Dan George, 17 Val Rapava Ruskin, 18 Joe Rees, 19 Darren Barry, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Ben Howard.
Date: Saturday, October 31
Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Tom Foley, Jonathan Healy
TMO: Keith Lewis