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Twelvetrees on target as Gloucester Rugby grab European glory

England centre Billy Twelvetrees ran in Gloucester Rugby’s sole try as the Aviva Premiership Rugby side tasted European glory for the second time in their history.

Twelvetrees' first-half try, plus 14 points from the boot of the irrepresible Greig Laidlaw, saw Gloucester run out 19-13 winners against Edinburgh in the European Rugby Challenge Cup final at Twickenham Stoop – though they had to hang on at the end with a man disadvantage after Billy Meakes was sent off.

The Cherry & Whites, who lie ninth in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table with two rounds to go, won the competition in its previous form in 2006, but this triumph means 2015 will still go down in the Kingsholm history books as a year of success.

Gloucester did find themselves on the back foot early on, with their Scottish counterparts moving ahead when Sam Hidalgo-Clyne bisected the posts with a penalty.

They looked nervous but Laidlaw's penalty soon drew them level before captain Twelvetrees darted over after an expertly-worked set-piece to galvanise his troops.

From a line-out, James Hook found Jonny May, who teed up Twelvetrees to dot down under the uprights.

Gloucester's physicality, which would later come back to bite them with Meakes shown red for a high tackle, kept them in the ascendancy in the closing stages of the first half.

But Edinburgh would have been relieved at a 13-6 half-time deficit, after May went close to scoring on the break and their Namibian lock Anton Bresler was sent to the sin bin.

David Humphreys' side cranked up the pressure in the second period though, with two expertly struck penalties from Laidlaw giving them some welcome breathing space.

But, just as it was all going swimmingly, Edinburgh were gifted a pathway back into the match, with Gloucester forced to play the final 17 minutes a man light after Meakes' indiscretion.

Ross Ford had the Gloucester supporters biting their nails when he crossed the line with just six points now between the two sides.

But, after several phases of pressure, Gloucester completed the turnover and retained possession admirably in the closing stages to ensure they took the silverware back to Kingsholm and made the season one to remember after all.

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