Immaculate kicking from 19-point Evans secures Gloucester a win
Lloyd Evans kicked 19 points as Gloucester extended their unbeaten run in the Gallagher Premiership to four games with a 29-20 win against Newcastle. Called up to replace Scotland international Adam Hastings, Evans responded with an exemplary display of goal-kicking with no misses from seven attempts.
The out-half succeeded with five penalties and converted both of his side’s tries, scored by Val Rapava-Ruskin and Jonny May. Ben Stevenson and Cameron Nordli-Kelemiti scored Newcastle’s tries, with Joel Hodgson adding two penalties and two conversions.
After 45 minutes Gloucester look in total control of the match as they built up a 16-0 lead, but the introduction of fresh half-backs for Newcastle galvanised them and they scored 13 unanswered points before the hosts regained their dominance to run out deserved winners.
An Evans penalty gave Gloucester a ninth-minute lead but that was the only score of an evenly contested first quarter. Both scrum-halves, Ben Meehan and Louis Schreuder, favoured the kicking option as neither side threatened the try line in that opening period.
It was therefore no surprise that the next points came by way of a second penalty from Evans, this time from 40 metres. Poor kicks from Newcastle’s backs Brett Connon and Stevenson surrendered valuable ground for the visitors and their cause was not helped as they had an 8-1 penalty count against them in the first half-hour.
"I watched a clip recently of when I first came here (to Newcastle) and now I am running totally different"
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May enlivened proceedings with an elusive run out of defence before his side extended their lead when Rapava-Ruskin finished off a lineout drive, with a conversion from Evans giving the hosts a 13-0 interval lead. After the restart, strong runs from May and Ruan Ackermann took Gloucester deep into the opposition territory from where Evans kicked a straightforward penalty.
Newcastle immediately changed their half-backs, with Nordli-Kelemeti and Hodgson introduced and it soon paid dividends when the latter made a half break to create a try for Stevenson. The scoring pass looked suspiciously forward but, after TMO replays, referee Wayne Barnes allowed the try to stand.
Hodgson converted and kicked two penalties in quick succession to bring the Falcons right back into contention, with Gloucester changing five players in one fell swoop to try and turn the tide. It worked as they won a penalty for Evans, who scored two further penalties, the second following a high tackle from Stevenson.
With two minutes remaining, Gloucester applied the coup de grace when a forward drive set up the opportunity for May to walk over, with Evans knocking over the touchline conversion. However, Newcastle had the final say when Nordli-Kelemeti darted over in the dying moments.
“To be honest I messaged him to say, ‘Well done, mate, well deserved and good luck on the tour’ and I haven’t spoken to him yet." @J0nnyMay on Leicester, Gloucester, Lions, competing for his England place and being challenged by LRZ, writes @heagneyl ???https://t.co/aMh2omsROj
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 19, 2021
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