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Injury to Lions centre a worry as former England star shines for Gloucester

By PA
Gloucester Rugby v London Irish – Gallagher Premiership – Kingsholm Stadium

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Gloucester head coach George Skivington was full of praise for fly-half Billy Twelvetrees after he kicked a last-minute penalty to secure a 30-28 win over London Irish at Kingsholm.

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Twelvetrees held his nerve to succeed with a 40-metre kick to send the home crowd of 3,250 happy with a bonus-point win.

Tries from Santiago Carreras, Willi Heinz, Kyle Moyle and Louis Rees-Zammit earned Gloucester that point with Twelvetrees adding two conversions and two penalties.

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Curtis Rona, Will Goodrick-Clarke and Albert Tuisue scored tries for Irish with Paddy Jackson kicking three penalties and two conversions.

Skivington said: “It takes big guts to knock that kick over but Billy has worked really hard on the training ground with his kicking.

“It rewarded our never-say-die attitude as the boys never throw in the towel as they showed that at Bristol last week when we down to 14 men early on with a red card but fought right to the end.

“Irish were very impressive in the A Zone in the first half but we were not at our best tonight although we gutsed it out to win.

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“We managed it well in the end as we won two penalties in succession so it was a clinical finish from us.”

Lions centre Chris Harris was withdrawn midway through the second half with a hand injury.

Skivington said: “Chris took a bang on the hand and it will need to be assessed. It was an easy decision to take him off with Lloyd Evans coming on and Billy moving to the centre.”

Twelvetrees was relieved that he succeeded with his match-winner.

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He said: “I missed a lot of those in my early days but I felt in a good place tonight with my goal-kicking but was relieved it went over to send the fans home happy.

“There was a bit of extra skip in the boys’ step today as we knew the fans were coming in but in the first half we were our own worst enemies as we had a big penalty count against us.

“We took on board a few home truths at half-time as we were frustrated with ourselves as our plan was to move Irish around and provide our back three with penalty of space.

Exiles director of rugby Declan Kidney was disappointed that his side could not end their losing run which they extended to six.

He said: “A game is not normally dependent on one play but we should have executed better at the end so it’s very disappointing.

“Parts of our game were good but we are not concentrating on whether we can secure a European Cup spot but just trying to take each game as it comes and hopefully continue to improve.”

London Irish flanker Sean O’Brien said: “We let ourselves down in small areas and the youngsters will learn a lot tonight.

“However we were unrecognisable from where we’ve been in the last few weeks but ultimately we weren’t strong enough in the breakdown at the finish as we got counter-rucked.”

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Injury to Lions centre a worry as former England star shines for Gloucester

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