Ebbw Vale Sink In The Second Half At Rain Soaked Kingsholm
25 January 2002 21:55pm
GLOUCESTER 46, EBBW VALE 11
Ebbw Vale finally ran out of steam in the rain as their PARKER PEN SHIELD dream came to a damp end in the second half at Kingsholm.
Ebbw Vale had first use of the driving wind and rain, but took a long time to come to terms with both the conditions and their English opponents.
Ludovic Mercier turned the home side's early pressure into points with three penalties before Gareth Cull replied with a goal of his own to cut the deficit. Those points gave the Welshmen new heart and they began to win possession and get their forwards rolling. After one charge to the edge of the Gloucester 22, Ebbw scrum half Kevin Ellis chipped to the left corner.
His rolling chip kick caused panic in the home defence and both James Simpson-Daniel and Daren O'Leary missed the ball to allow the advancing Andrew Wagstaff to pounce for a try.
As the conditions worsened, so Ebbw rode their luck and on the stroke of half-time Cull kicked a second penalty to give the visitors a two point advantage at the break.
Philippe Saint-Andre read the riot act in the dressing room at half-time and his players obviously took his words to heart. With the elements at their backs Gloucester completely dominated the second half as they notched 37 unanswered points to power their way through to the last four of a competition that provides the winners with a Heineken Cup ticket next season.
As Ebbw fell foul of the Italian referee, and had three players, Paul Matthews, Gareth Cull and Kevin Ellis, sent to the sin-bin, so Gloucester grabbed tries through Daren O'Leary, James Simpson-Daniel, the captain Jake Boer and James Forrester.
SCORERS: Gloucester: Tries: D O'Leary, J Simpson-Daniel, J Boer; J Forrester; Conversions: L Mercier 4; Penalties: L Mercier 6. Ebbw Vale: Try: A Wagstaff; Pens: G Cull 2.
GLOUCESTER: D O'Leary H Paul 70); J Simpson-Daniel (M Garvey 70), T Fanolua, R Todd, D Albanese: L Mercier, A Gomersall; P Collazo, C Fortey, F Pucciariello (A Deacon 22), M Cornwell, A Eustace (R Fidler 9), J Boer (captain), A Hazell (J Forrester 70), J Paramore.
EBBW VALE; M James; A Takarangi (D Weatherley 71), R Shorney, P Matthews, A Wagstaff; G Cull, K Ellis; I Thomas, L Phillips (J Evans 71), M Jones, C Billen (captain, O Booyse 58), N Edwards, K Tuipolotu, P Williams, W Thomas.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.
The WRU officially unveiled the new pitch today in time for Wales to take on Australia in the first of the Dove Men Series autumn international matches this Saturday. Head Groundsman Lee Evans and colleague Craig Campbell reflect on the 15-week project and look ahead to a pitch perfect future at Millennium Stadium.