Gloucester rebound from slow start to finish with a Willi Heinz flourish
Gloucester staged an impressive second-half rally to beat Newcastle 35-24 in an entertaining Gallagher Premiership game at Kingsholm. A lethargic Gloucester found themselves 21-7 in arrears after 20 minutes but the hosts rose from their slumbers to dominate and secure a morale-boosting victory.
Willi Heinz scored two tries of their tries. Louis Rees Zammit, Ruan Ackermann and Lloyd Evans also crossed, with Evans adding four conversions and Billy Twelvetrees one. Callum Chick scored two tries for Newcastle and George McGuigan got the other, with Brett Connon converting all three and adding a penalty.
Newcastle took an early lead when Chick rewarded a period of pressure to force his way over but Gloucester, unluckily beaten last week at Sale, soon responded with an excellent try. A burst from Mark Atkinson created space for Rees-Zammit and the wing took full advantage by powering past weak tackles from Tom Penny and Chidera Obonna to score.
The explosive start to the game continued with a third try in the opening 11 minutes, with McGuigan burrowing his way over to put Falcons back in front. Gloucester conceded five penalties in the opening quarter and were again made to pay when Luther Burrell made a half-break to create a second try for Chick with Connon’s third successful conversion giving his side a healthy lead at the end of a lively first quarter.
The hosts suffered a further setback when England wing Jonny May walked off with an injury to be replaced by Santiago Carreras – but Gloucester woke up to have the better of the second quarter. Rees-Zammit raised their spirits by splitting the visitors’ defence with a superb run to earn his side a platform in the Falcons 22 but despite a succession of line-out drives, the home side could not capitalise and were still 14 points adrift at the interval.
A wonderful second-half comeback means we take the full 5 points!
— Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) April 24, 2021
Within three minutes of the restart, Gloucester roared back into contention when scrum-half Stephen Varney broke away from a maul to provide Ackermann with an easy run-in. Before play could resume, Varney was replaced by Heinz and within minutes the substitute was on the scoresheet as Gloucester drew level with a superb try,
From inside their own 22, Carreras made a clean break to send Rees-Zammit away, with Heinz up in support to collect the inside pass and score. Newcastle lost Burrell to a shoulder injury but the Falcons regained the lead with a penalty from Connon before Evans and Heinz turned the game Gloucester’s way with late tries.
"You do get a bit rusty on things like tackling properly because I haven’t had to make a full-on tackle in a while"
– Paolo Odogwu went 11 weeks without playing due to an England call-up where he never made Eddie Jones' match-day 23 https://t.co/8TiZzNh5CT
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 23, 2021
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