Aled Thomas set Gloucester Rugby on their way to a bonus-point victory over Ospreys as they kept their qualification hopes alive in the LV= Cup.
Thomas touched down with less than five minutes played at Kingsholm before a penalty try and 18-year-old Ollie Thorley’s score ensured a 22-13 half-time lead for the hosts.
Ben John’s interception try and the boot of fly-half Sam Davies had kept the Ospreys in touch but Dan Thomas went over early in the second half to wrap up the four-try bonus point.
Richard Fussell and Tom Grabham gave Gloucester a late scare but the Cherry and Whites held on for a 32-25 victory – their second win in three LV= Cup games.
A youthful Gloucester side took little time to stamp their authority on proceedings at Kingsholm as their intimidating pack dominated from the first whistle.
David Humphreys’ men signalled their intent by kicking two early penalties to the corner and they were rewarded after only four minutes.
Dan Thomas came up just short of the try-line after an impressive drive but Aled Thomas dived over from close range – Billy Burns converting for a 7-0 lead.
Young winger Thorley thwarted a marauding Dafydd Howells in the corner to maintain the advantage before his side’s pack continued to turn the screw.
After winning a scrum against the head, the Cherry and Whites pressed forward and when their driving maul was cynically brought down by Ospreys, the referee awarded the penalty try.
Burns again slotted the simple conversion before Davies finally got the Welsh outfit on the board with a 44-metre penalty from a reset scrum.
The gap was narrowed further on 24 minutes when Gloucester tried to play the ball from deep but John gleefully intercepted a loose pass and cantered home from 30 metres.
Davies nailed the tricky conversion to make it 14-10 before Ospreys No. 8 Morgan Allen was carted off following a nasty-looking clash of heads.
And their task soon became even trickier when scrum-half Sam Habberfield was sin-binned for playing the ball on the floor.
Burns and Davies traded well-struck penalties as the Welsh side appeared to have limited the damage but two minutes before half-time, Davies joined his half-back partner in the sin-bin.
And the home side promptly made the most of the visitors’ two-man disadvantage as they worked the ball wide to an overlapping Thorley – the 18-year-old dotting down to establish a 22-13 half-time lead.
That advantage was stretched by the hosts early in the second half when they wrapped up a bonus point with try number four.
With starting fly-half Davies still in the sin-bin, Fussell stepped into the No. 10 role for Ospreys and had his attempted clearance kick charged down by Dan Thomas.
The flanker then collected the loose ball before crossing the whitewash and Burns added the extras to make the score 29-13.
The game began to peter out as the end-to-end, expansive rugby of the first half was replaced by more attritional, error-strewn play but Ospreys gave themselves a lifeline with around a quarter of the match to go.
Fussell made up for his earlier mistake by dotting down for the visitors after a spell of concerted pressure in the hosts’ 22.
Davies was once again perfect from the tee as he narrowed the deficit to nine points although another Gloucester penalty gave them a little more breathing room.
Ospreys winger Grabham powered over from a Davies cross-field kick late on to set up a grandstand finish but despite seeing Aleki Lutui yellow carded and conceding a couple of penalties in dangerous positions, the home team clung on for a 32-25 win.
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