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.
Wales Under 20 travel to Newcastle on Friday to face England at Kingston Park. With the likes of Jack Dixon and Ashley Evans returning to the squad, it's arguably the strongest side head coach Byron Hayward has put out in the tournament so far. WRU TV previews the game with Defence Coach Richard Hodges and captain Steffan Hughes.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland gives an exclusive interview to WRU TV after naming his side to face England in the RBS 6 Nations at Twickenham on Sunday. Gatland has recalled British & Irish Lions duo Jonathan Davies and Alun Wyn Jones to his side while Rhys Webb retains his place at scrum half.
Scrum half Rhys Webb and lock Jake Ball both made their first Wales starts in last Friday's win over France at the Millennium Stadium. They talk exclusively to WRU TV's Luke Broadley about their experiences of the day.
Wales Women's Head Coach Rhys Edwards has made three changes to his side to face France at Aberavon on Sunday, where he expects his side to be given a tough time against one of the best teams in the world.