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'It was an ugly game but they are a pressure team that makes it hard and niggly'

By PA

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“Outstanding” Gloucester fly-half Lloyd Evans spearheaded his side to victory at Kingsholm by scoring 19 of his points in a “tough and niggly” 29-20 victory over Newcastle.

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Evans was only called into the starting line-up on Thursday when Scotland international Adam Hastings was forced to withdraw due to a knock suffered in training.

Evans succeeded with his five penalties and converted both of his side’s tries, which were scored by Val Rapava-Ruskin and Jonny May.

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Ben Stevenson and Cameron Nordli-Kelemiti scored Newcastle’s tries, with Joel Hodgson adding two penalties and two conversions.

Evans said: “I really enjoyed it but it was a tough, niggly game as it always is against Newcastle. It was also a funny one as we couldn’t get any phases going to our play.

“There was a big momentum shift in the second half but the biggest thing is that we survived it and came back to win it.”

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Gloucester head coach George Skivington was full of praise for Evans’ efforts.

He said: “Lloyd was outstanding. He was a late change and it’s been frustrating for him to sit out the last few games.

“It was an ugly game but they are a pressure team that makes it hard and niggly.

“There will be loads to look at but I’m pleased that when we got into the 22, we came away with points although we left a couple of scores out there.

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“When they got it back to 16-13 there was a danger of all our hard work being undone but we pulled through.

“Our rolling maul was again a success, as the stats show it’s currently the best in the league.

“It’s a real strength and focal point for us but we have been working on it for the past 15 months as we know how much a Kingsholm crowd appreciate that facet of play.”

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards was frustrated by his side’s performance.

“They are a far better side than last year but we had 54 per cent of possession and 62 per cent of territory so we should have won the game,” he said.

“It’s very disappointing as we couldn’t get on the front foot and the penalty count was 9-1 against us in the first half.

“For the second time this season, we have come a cropper with the referee but that’s our fault.

“We missed a good opportunity to win as we needed to be a bit smarter but we kept screwing up by giving away soft penalties.”

 

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'It was an ugly game but they are a pressure team that makes it hard and niggly'

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