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Anglo-Welsh Cup wrap: Round 1

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Forwards coach Trevor Woodman is confident the foundations have been laid for a good Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign for his Gloucester Rugby side after a 36-32 win over Saracens.

The World Cup winner saw his side trail the defending champions by 20 points at the break after debutant Tom Griffiths and Ben Spencer both scored tries to give Saracens a deserved lead.

But the game was turned on its head as Dan Thomas, Henry Purdy and David Halaifonua all raced over at the beginning of the second half and it was Halaifonua who scored in the last minute to clinch victory for the Cherry and Whites.

And Woodman hopes his side can push on in the Anglo-Welsh Cup after a frustrating start in Aviva Premiership Rugby.

“It is a great platform for us going into the next stage of the competition – first and foremost you always look to get the win and to get the bonus point is the cherry on top,” he said.

“It puts us in a good position, depending on how the other results go in our pool.

“It is a great result, because in the first half they really came out at us, and we had far too many errors, which gave Saracens that deserved lead.”

The Anglo-Welsh Cup kicked off with a thrilling 21-20 win for Leicester Tigers over Bath Rugby at the Rec with man of the match Harry Thacker praising the nerveless kicking of Freddie Burns.


The England fly-half kicked 11 points to add to tries from Luke Hamilton and George Catchpole, with experience amongst the Leicester ranks proving critical according to Thacker.

“We had a few experienced bodies in that squad who were able to guide us and they did a good job,” he explained.

Click here for the latest fixtures and results from the Anglo-Welsh Cup

“When you’ve got a guy like Freddie who can pull those strings and put them in the right places it makes a lot of difference, and for us to look up and see we’re in the right areas of the pitch is a good boost. On nights like this it’s invaluable.

“We showed a lot of heart towards the end and we just showed we want to play for this shirt and this badge.”

Also on Friday night, Sale Sharks beat Wasps 17-13 and Worcester scored five-tries as they saw off a battling Bristol Rugby side 31-25, despite trailing 13-10 at half-time.

Bristol have since parted company with director of rugby Andy Robinson with the weekend’s defeat being the club’s tenth consecutive loss since promotion from the Championship.

Click here for the latest Anglo-Welsh Cup tables and an explanation of the format of the tournament

Meanwhile Exeter Chiefs’ skills coach Ricky Pellow was in a bullish mood despite his side’s 29-15 defeat to Harlequins.

“We’ll reset, we’ve done this before where we’ve started off and got a loss under our belt, and gone on to get wins under our belt and get to the semi-final,” he said.

“It’s disappointing but we’ll reset and come back in on Tuesday, work on the things that didn’t go well for us and focus for Cardiff.

“If we can get a good result at home then we’re still in with a really good chance to move forward in the group.”

And the weekend concluded at Kingston Park as Northampton Saints registered a 24-16 victory over Newcastle Falcons. Tom Collins and Rory Hutchinson scored tries either side of half-time with Sam Olver adding 14 points with the boot.

Alex Tait crossed for the hosts with ten minutes to go after Mike Delany had kept them in touch with three penalties.

FRIDAY

Worcester Warriors 31
Tries: Adams 2, Stelling 2, Dowsett
Conversions: Shillcock 3

Bristol Rugby 25
Tries: Nemsadze, Wallace, Varndell
Conversions: Searle 2
Penalties: Searle 2

Bath 20
Try: Wilson, Williams, Bowden
Conversions: Hastings
Penalties: Hastings

Leicester 21
Try: Hamilton, Catchpole
Conversions: Burns
Penalties: Burns 3

Sale Sharks 17
Tries: Jennings, Bedlow
Conversions: Arscott
Penalties: Arscott

Wasps 13
Tries: Thompson, Umaga
Penalties: Eastgate

SATURDAY

Gloucester 36
Tries: J Mullis, D Thomas, H Purdy, D Halaifonua 2, penalty
Conversions: Evans 3

Saracens 32
Tries: Griffiths 2, Spencer, Whiteley
Conversions: Griffiths 2, T Whiteley
Penalties: B Spencer 2

Harlequins 29
Tries: Morris, Walker, L Jones
Conversions: Evans
Penalties: Evans 4

Exeter Chiefs 15
Tries: Short, Taione
Conversions: Simmonds
Penalties: Simmonds

SUNDAY

Newcastle Falcons 16
Tries: Tait
Conversions: Delany
Penalties: Delany 3

Northampton Saints 24
Tries: Collins, Hutchinson
Conversions: Olver
Penalties: Olver 4

 

The second round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup kicks off this weekend. For full details of the tournament and tickets for the Final at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday 19 March see www.new-heroes.com

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