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Gloucester hold off Wasps fightback to claim narrow victory

By PA

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Gloucester held off a final-quarter rally from Wasps to claim a 35-33 victory in a hard-fought encounter at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

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The visitors, for whom fly-half Adam Hastings kicked 15 points, led 23-5 and 35-19 at varying stages in the game but a late yellow card for their England wing Jonny May gave Wasps the impetus they needed and they nearly pulled off a remarkable comeback.

Wasps outscored their opponents by five tries to four with Jacob Umaga scoring two – to go along with four conversions – after Thomas Young, Gabriel Oghre and Alfie Barbeary had crossed.

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Billy Twelvetrees touched down twice for Gloucester in between scores from May and Jack Clement, with Hastings slotting over three penalties and three conversions.

Injury-ravaged Wasps suffered two further blows ahead of the game when Ali Crossdale and Marcus Watson both withdrew from the starting line-up to take their casualty list to 19. Matteo Minozzi and Francois Hougaard replaced them, with the South African scrum-half assuming an uncustomary role on the wing.

The hosts soon had another setback when they conceded the first score.

A clever kick ahead and gather from Hastings put the Wasps defence on the back foot for May to take advantage by stepping past two opponents to race away for a solo try.

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Hastings converted and added two penalties to give the visitors a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Wasps had been comfortably second best in that period but with their first attack they got on the scoreboard.

Gloucester were penalised on halfway for Umaga’s kick to secure an attacking line-out and from there a rehearsed move saw Young crash over.

However, Gloucester resumed their domination of the first half when a pass from Mark Atkinson sent Twelvetrees powering past some weak tackling for their second try.

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Minutes later they should have had another as more poor defensive work from Wasps saw the visitors presented with a golden opportunity but an excellent tackle from Hougaard prevented May from scoring his second.

Just before half-time, Hastings added his third penalty before Oghre finished off a driving line-out to leave Wasps trailing 23-12 at the interval.

Ten minutes after the restart, Gloucester extended their lead when Ben Meehan and Atkinson combined cleverly to send Twelvetrees in for his second.

Wasps immediately took off their two try-scorers, Young and Oghre, and were soon rewarded when the newly-introduced Barbeary forced his way over.

The home side threatened to come back into contention but a mistake from Umaga gifted his opponents an attacking platform, with Clement finishing off a driving line-out for the bonus-point try.

Wasps built up a period of late pressure and May was yellow-carded before Umaga scored two converted tries in quick succession but Gloucester just held on.

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