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Gloucester battle back

16 Sep 2006
Gloucester battle back

Gloucester battled back to earn a share of the spoils against Leicester at Welford Road and extend their unbeaten start to the Guinness Premiership season.

The Cherry and Whites went into the game as the last team to beat Leicester in front of their own supporters in the Premiership back in January 2004.

The Tigers had strung together a 27-game unbeaten home run since then but could not shake off a spirited challenge from the visitors this time.

Leicester opened up a 16-9 lead at the break and went further clear two minutes into the second half with Andy Goode’s penalty.

That set up a spell of 20 points in nine minutes that left Leicester 27-21 ahead going into the final quarter.

Gloucester’s first try came through James Forrester after 50 minutes but Seru Rabeni replied four minutes later.

The visitors responded with Anthony Allen finding a way over between the posts for a try that Willie Walker converted to trim the deficit to 24-21 after 75 minutes.

Goode gave Leicester some breathing space with another penalty after 59 minutes but Walker replied two minutes later to set up a tight final quarter.

Gloucester piled on the pressure and were awarded a five-metre scrum four minutes from the end.

Leicester breathed a sigh of relief when Brad Davies spilled the ball a couple of metres short of the line, but he made amends with a 79th-minute penalty that earned his side a draw.

The first half was disjointed and littered with unforced errors.

The tone was set in the opening exchanges with Leicester knocking on at a line-out five metres from their own line in the second minute and that gifted Walker the opportunity to put the visitors ahead with a drop goal.

Goode replied with a 40-metre penalty two minutes later but Walker responded from just inside Leicester’s half in the ninth minute to put the Cherry and Whites back in front at 6-3.

The lead did not last a minute, however, as Gloucester fumbled the restart and Goode kicked the penalty.

He added another after 15 minutes and then Leicester produced the best move of the half to grab the opening try.

They finally strung several phases together with George Chuter making his way into the 22 and then sending the ball out to the right.

Dan Hipkiss gathered Sam Vesty’s pass and burst through a gap to touch down between the posts after 19 minutes.

Goode’s conversion made it 16-9 and Gloucester were denied their first try 10 minutes later when the officials spotted a knock-on before Forrester powered over in the right-hand corner.

Walker’s drop goal in the 32nd minute kept Gloucester in touch and Goode wasted a chance to put Leicester 10 points clear when he was off target with a 38th-minute penalty.

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