Late tries by Ollie Thorley and Carwyn Penny allowed Gloucester United to defeat Exeter Braves 33-20 at Kingsholm on Monday night and book a home semi-final in the Aviva A League – against Wasps – by finishing top of the Southern Conference.
It meant an end to Exeter’s defence of their title following a thrilling contest that initially saw Gloucester build a 19-5 lead through tries from Dan Thomas, Matt Protheroe and Thorley.
Great to be back out on the pitch and grab a fe tries. Top work from all the boys. Tom Sands… https://t.co/PHP8LfkIEx
— Ollie (@thorlo) April 11, 2017
The Braves fought back superbly in the second half, with Harry Strong’s score putting them back in the picture before Elvis Taione put them in front with ten minutes to go, only for their hosts to provide one final twist.
Gloucester academy backs coach Richard Whiffin said: “We’ve spoken over the last couple of days in our build-up that we wanted to have a real ambitious, attacking mind-set with and without the ball.
“There’s going to be a few ups and downs and a few errors in those performances, but we gave the boys a license to have a crack and, fair play, they dug deep.”
Northampton Wanderers topped the Northern Conference after they comfortably defeated Sale Jets 32-3 at Franklin’s Gardens, with scrum-half Tom Kessell and Argentina winger Juan Pablo Estelles both scoring twice.
Lock Christian Day also struck for what was a strong and experienced Wanderers side that are looking to go one better after finishing runners-up last year.
🎥 Wandies highlights!
🔫 Sniping from Kess
🔥 Hot-stepping Juan
👴🏻 One for the squad-father pic.twitter.com/qmLVQnvD4X
— Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) April 11, 2017
Wasps qualified alongside them and will travel to Gloucester after they won 51-26 at Newcastle Falcons, with Frank Halai and Brendan Macken both scoring two of the seven tries they racked up in total.
Aviva A League Semi-Final line-up
- Northampton Wanderers v Saracens Storm – Franklin’s Gardens
- Gloucester United v Wasps – Kingsholm
Both matches are played on Monday 24 April at 7.30pm
Northampton will host Saracens Storm, who were never troubled in their 48-5 thrashing of Bristol United, as they scored eight tries at Allianz Park, with centre Nick Tompkins bagging a double.
Elsewhere, Bath United rounded off their campaign by picking up their first victory, as Harlequins were dispatched 34-7, with their captain Guy Mercer adding the finishing touch.
On Sunday, Worcester Cavaliers came through an absolute stormer against Leicester Tigers that saw 12 tries shared between the two teams, as Ben Howard’s effort with a minute left snatched a 41-40 victory.
REPORT | Leicester Tigers 40-41 Worcester Cavaliers
Read the report from a thriller in Lichfield!
— Worcester Warriors🏉 (@WorcsWarriors) April 9, 2017
Bath United 34-7 Harlequins
Gloucester United 33-20 Exeter Braves
Newcastle Falcons 26-51 Wasps
Northampton Wanderers 32-3 Sale Jets
Saracens Storm 48-5 Bristol United
Leicester Tigers 40-41 Worcester Cavaliers
Semi-finals – April 24
Northampton Wanderers v Saracens Storm
Gloucester United v Wasps
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