Gloucester rugby bounced back from an opening day defeat to claim an emphatic 40-24 victory over Wasps in their first win of the 2020/21 Gallagher Premiership season on Saturday.
Tries from Jack Singleton, Matt Garvey, Joe Simpson, Jason Woodward, and captain Billy Twelvetrees secured an emphatic win for the Cherry and Whites at Kingsholm. The game had run away from Wasps by the time Paolo Odogwu added a brace of tries to the earlier scores of Michael Le Bourgeois and Alfie Barbeary to take away a four try attacking bonus point.
Seven of the nine tries came in a thrilling second half in which Gloucester scored three between the 62nd and 70th minute to race 28 points clear of the visitors after leading 13-5 at half time.
The scoreboard was a reward for the fine defensive effort the hosts put in after a poor performance away to Leicester Tigers last weekend.
Rugby reporter Charlie Hynes takes a closer look at the individual performances at Kingsholm:
15. Jason Woodward – 7
A much-improved performance from Woodward at the back for Gloucester after a poor display last weekend.
The kiwi born back was strong under the high ball and looked dangerous with the ball in hand in attack. He got his reward for his efforts after Lloyd Evans made the initial break and Woodward was in support of Twelvetrees to get the bonus point score.
14. Ollie Thorley – 7
‘Thor’ (as he has been named by his England teammates) looked his usual lively self with some strong carrying and quick feet.
Wasps knew they had some defending to do when Thorley got the ball and ducked under his teammates on a side ways run that can have potentially devastating consequences.
The only negative was misreading the bounce of the ball for Wasps’ first try.
13. Billy Twelvetrees – 7
Twelvetrees was captain for the day with Lewis Ludlow out with a concussion but of course it is a job he has done many times before during his Cherry and Whites career. The former England international had a mixed day but grew into the game.
He started with a poor miss from the boot which carried on with inconsistency from the tee but he made up for that with strong carrying and an opportunist intercept try in the 69th minute to seal the victory for the hosts.
Twelvetrees was a good reflection of the determination his side showed to improve from last week and claim a fully deserved win.
12. Mark Atkinson – 8
Atkinson was at the centre of the Gloucester attack from set piece with the number 12 being a main ball carrier off the first phase. He provided go forward with his pace and made gains every time he got the ball making 27 metres.
He was a big threat to the Wasps defence from the lineout as he combined with Singleton to produce instant go forward.
Atkinson contributed in Gloucester’s defensive hounding of Wasps with eight tackles. He was replaced by Henry Trinder on 61 minutes.
11. Tom Seabrook – 7
Seabrook was one of five changes for Gloucester, coming in for Matt Banahan. The 21-year-old worked hard all afternoon for the Cherry and Whites in attack and defence.
His first notable involvement in the game was in defence with him providing some great cover from a Zach Kibirige chip and chase which has proved dangerous on a number of occasions in the Gallagher Premiership.
The youngster also provided a good kick chase for Joe Simpson which allowed his side to play in the right areas of the pitch.
In defence he also made a great tackle on Josh Bassett at the start of the half with the Wasps winger flying down the left wing.
10. Lloyd Evans – 8
Evans was the main talking point coming into the game with the reason for Danny Cipriani’s exclusion from the matchday 23 unknown.
The 24-year-old offered a blend of composure and flair as he ran the game well. Gloucester looked to play off nine meaning Evans was given freedom to roam and scan a play in advance.
He was good in the backfield when he dropped back claiming a couple of high balls adding a stability throughout all of Gloucester’s play. His defining moment came with the fly half receiving a chipped kick from Alfie Barbeary who looked to be sizing up the Gloucester number ten. He stepped past the Wasps flanker with ease and glided through the opposition defence to give a two on one pass to Twelvetrees who was brought down short of the line but gave a great offload to Woodward to score.
9. Joe Simpson – 7
Simpson worked well with his half back partner to control the game for Gloucester. The former Wasps man was the playmaker, arching off the back of the ruck to try and unlock a hole in the opposition defence.
He kicked well to guide his team around the field from the off, with a great long kick to give Gloucester an early territory gain.
He got a classic Joe Simpson support line try against his old side as he chased down Evans and Twelvetrees to receive the offload and score on 62 minutes to start a landslide of tries for the hosts.
It was a solid performance all round from the scrum half as he looked to add tempo and structure to the game at the right moments.
1. Val Rapava-Ruskin – 8
Rapava–Ruskin was another member of Gloucester’s strong ball carrying unit today, making eight carries which bullied back the Wasps defence.
He had a good battle at the scrum with Wasps’ Kieran Brookes with penalties going either way but came out on top in the physical encounters in open play. Rapava-Ruskin was a nuisance at the ruck for Wasps with his strength forcing turnovers and making life uncomfortable for the visitors.
2. Jack Singleton – 7
The England hooker came in for Australian James Hanson after last week’s defeat. Singleton offered stability from the off throwing some accurate arrows that gave Gloucester a solid base to play off.
He got himself a score when a relentless driving maul just inside the Wasps 22 flew towards the line and Singleton was at the back to dot down on 38 minutes.
He made a positive contribution in defence with 10 tackles and was replaced on 67 minutes by Hanson.
3. Jack Stanley -7
Stanley went about his work and was an asset at the scrum for the Cherry and Whites.
He made eight tackles this afternoon and was part of a dominant pack that bullied Wasps’ on occasions and allowed them to pull away late on.
It was a big improvement on the performance of the Gloucester forwards from last weekend and put that thought well and truly to bed
4. Ed Slater – 8
Slater has been a leader for whichever side he has taken the field for over the past ten years and certainly took on that mantel today.
He made 16 tackles in the match, which was the second highest of any Gloucester player, including some absolutely bruising hits.
He was a key asset at the lineout as he combined well with Singleton, winning seven and putting pressure on the Wasps throw.
5. Matt Garvey – 7
Garvey was a constant throughout Gloucester’s game with some strong carrying as well as combining with Slater to make eight tackles in defence.
The former Bath man had a moment for the highlights reel after the main part of the driving maul in the Wasps’ 22 broke away exposing Garvey and Freddie Clarke. The big man charged in from ten metres out and dived over unopposed.
6. Freddie Clarke – 8
Clarke was a bright spark for Gloucester off the bench last week and justified his selection with another good performance this afternoon.
The blindside flanker made 10 tackles in defence, but his main work was done at the breakdown trying to disrupt Wasps’ ball. The most notable occasion being at the end of the first half to stop the Wasps momentum to deny them a score before half time.
He almost pulled off a fine run in the first half as he rampaged down the wing, bumping off two tackles but was just unable to keep himself and the ball in field.
7. Jordy Reid – 7
Another forward that helped make up for performance last weekend with a brutish and physical effort in defence.
The flanker made 14 tackles for his side as they stopped Wasps from getting momentum around the 60 minute mark which allowed Gloucester to attack and pull away on the score board. Eight of those tackles came in the first half.
You can not fault the effort of Reid but the only negative to come from his game was five missed tackles.
8. Ruan Ackermann – 9
The South African was at the heart of everything good about Gloucester early on. His immense ability to get over the gain line with every carry gave the Cherry and Whites a key weapon to utilise.
He was an enforcer in defence with some bruising hits on the Wasps attackers and also caused problems at the breakdown trying to drive the Wasps forwards off the ruck as well as making valuable turnovers, non-more so than when Gloucester were under pressure on their own line and the number eight took a risk that paid off and relieved the pressure.
Gloucester’s number eight made an immense 21 tackles throughout his 76 minutes on the field. 12 of those tackles came in the first half and followed that up with nine in the second half.
It is fair to say the South African was back to his best today.
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16. James Hanson – N/A
17. Jamal Ford-Robinson – 6
18. Ciaran Knight -6
19. Alex Craig – 6
20. Jamie Gibson – N/A
21. Will Flinn – N/A
22. Henry Trinder -6
23. Kyle Moyle – N/A
The bench maintained the level that the starting 15 had been operating at throughout but unfortunately were unable to stop some late brilliance from Wasps, which allowed them to secure a bonus point. It was a special day for Kyle Moyle as he replaced Jason Woodward late on to make his Gloucester debut.