Two Christian Wade tries bookended a London Wasps victory at Kingsholm in a high-scoring encounter that saw the sides finish with four tries apiece – the Londoners running out 32-30 victors.
The visitors took advantage of some uncertain defending from the Cherry & Whites in the first half as first Wade and then Nathan Hughes gave Wasps a 14-0 lead.
The home side fought back after a freakish try from Shaun Knight but despite getting their noses in front in the second half, they never looked convincing as they succumbed to their fifth defeat in seven Aviva Premiership matches.
Gloucester looked to have lost Freddie Burns to injury early on after he collided with Josh Bassett in the air but the fly-half was able to return after five minutes on the sidelines.
Wasps took the lead when the ball was spun wide to Wade who broke the tackle of full-back Rob Cook on the halfway line and simply ran away from the defence to score. Andy Goode slotted the conversion to give Wasps an early 7-0 lead, and it wasn’t belong before they moved further ahead.
From a Gloucester scrum in their own 22 Wasps won the ball and struck down the blindside with No.8 Hughes running over his marker to touch down, Goode drilling a low conversion between the posts to add the extras.
Eleven minutes before the break Burns was given the chance to get his side on the scoresheet when try-scorer Hughes was penalised by referee J P Doyle for not rolling away from the tackle in front of the posts. The fly-half made short work of the kick off the tee to make it 14-3 against the run of play.
Gloucester roared back into the game through a bizarre try following a lovely break from Henry Trinder. The ball went wide to Andy Hazell who appeared to have lost it four metres from the line after a desperate tackle from Bassett, only for it to pop off his shin and into the in-goal area where Knight dived on it to dot down.
Burns was successful with a tricky conversion and out of nothing the gap was reduced to four points.
A Goode chip over the Gloucester defence looked to have set up Charlie Hayter for the try only for Jonny May to rush over and prevent him crossing the whitewash. But a Goode penalty on the stroke of half-time sent Wasps in at the break with a seven-point advantage.
The gap was two points shortly after the break after a move straight off the training ground, Sione Kalamafoni taking a low throw-in at the lineout to plunge over the line with Wasps caught unawares. Burns was on target with a difficult conversion but a strong wind prevented the kick from reaching the posts.
Ryan Mills came within inches of putting Gloucester in front for the first time in the match as he was pulled down short of the line with Wasps desperately scrambling back in defence.
But after an extended period camped in the Wasps 22, Gloucester won another penalty that Burns dispatched to move his side ahead.
But Wasps immediately went up the other end and with a penalty coming Goode failed with an attempted drop goal, referee Doyle bringing the game back for the infringement. The much-travelled fly-half was successful with a tricky strike as the lead swung back to Wasps.
Jimmy Cowan – on as a replacement for Dan Robson – was soon in the thick of the action, failing with a drop goal effort in the knowledge the penalty was coming.
Burns missed with his penalty but Charlie Sharples followed up to tap the ball back, Gloucester recycled and Cowan fed Cook who plunged over the line. Burns couldn’t add the extras, and Gloucester led 23-20 going into a nervy final few minutes.
But Wasps struck straight back as Kalamafoni and Cowan failed to claim the restart, Cowan spilling the ball into the Gloucester 22 where Guy Thompson pounced to touch down.
Goode’s superb conversion made it 27-23 to the visitors with six minutes left and Christian Wade sealed victory with his second try shortly after to secure Wasps’ bonus point. The winger ran onto switch ball and darted between two forwards to escape his markers and touch down.
Gloucester pressed on in search of a bonus point and after two quick penalties Cook got his second try of the afternoon, Burns slotting the extras to ensure defeat was by only two points.