Last-gasp penalty try wins it for Cherry & Whites
1:08pm Monday 25th February 2013 in Sport
Gloucester 29 Worcester Warriors 23.
GLOUCESTER might have left it late to see off Worcester Warriors, not to mention needing a bit of help from the rugby gods along the way, but director of rugby Nigel Davies insists he always felt his side were in with a shout, writes Ben Baker.
With 80 minutes looming, the Cherry and Whites were staring down the barrel of a fourth Aviva Premiership defeat in their last five games as they trailed 23-22.
But Warriors full back Errie Claassens was adjudged to have deliberately tripped wing Jonny May by referee David Rose in the dying seconds, awarding Gloucester a penalty try and handing them the victory.
It might not have been pretty but with the win keeping Gloucester’s top four hopes alive, Davies admits he couldn’t care less.
"The important thing is we kept battling and ensured the effort never dropped, which meant we always had a chance and we gave ourselves a late opportunity," he said.
"I always felt we had a chance, even on 80 minutes, because of the way we got the ball out wide and we have match winners on the field. Given the space, Jonny May is always a handful, he's always capable of causing chaos and the decision went our way.
"It's difficult to comment on the decision and the try, what I will say is I'm happy that my team continued to play to the death and if you do that you will always give yourself a chance.
"We've not given ourselves any targets and we're just taking each game as it comes.
"We've done well so far but the important thing is we keep giving 100 per cent and keep giving ourselves a chance."
Gloucester suffered a blow before the game when captain Mike Tindall, who was due to make his 150th appearance for the club, pulled out with a sore hip suffered in a collision during training.
But after Andy Goode had hit the crossbar with a penalty attempt for the visitors, full back Rob Cook helped the Cherry and Whites into the lead with a three-pointer of his own.
Cook repeated the feat before May almost grabbed the first try of the game, the wing just failing to touch down Henry Trinder’s grubber kick.
Goode got Worcester on the scoresheet but they then had to dig deep as blindside flanker Sam Betty was shown a yellow card for a shoulder charge on Charlie Sharples.
Worcester, chasing a first Aviva Premiership win of 2013, then went ahead as Fijian Josh Matavesi went over, only for the hosts to respond immediately when Trinder and May combined on the left, the former going over.
In the second half, Gloucester pulled further ahead thanks to two penalties, only for Goode to reply with one of his own to keep Worcester alive.
And they went ahead thanks to Alex Grove, who intercepted a loose pass before running in.
A fourth Cook penalty put Gloucester back in front but with six minutes left Goode’s replacement Danny Gray held his nerve to send over a kick of his own for a narrow Warriors lead late on.
However, Worcester couldn’t hold on as the referee took centre stage.
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