Gloucester Rugby No.8 Ben Morgan showed England what they were missing with a hat-trick as his side recorded their first win in the LV= Cup with a 46-20 victory over London Welsh at Kingsholm.
The Cherry & Whites ran in six tries in total, with most of the damage being done in the first half as Shane Monahan, Morgan twice and Akapusi Qera all touched down to give the hosts a commanding lead.
Winger Nick Scott and James Tideswell grabbed a try apiece for Welsh in the second half but scores from hooker Koree Britton and Morgan once more ensured the emphatic margin of victory.
Looking to bounce back from defeat to Ospreys last weekend,Gloucester didn’t get off to the best start when Rob Cook was sin-binned after just two minutes for taking a man out in the air.
But they were on the board first when Freddie Burns kicked a penalty in the seventh minute and they extended their lead when Billy Twelvetrees’ break, followed by some beautiful handling from Jimmy Cowan set up Monahan who touched down for the game’s first try. Burns converted the extras for a 10-0 lead.
Welsh responded with two penalties from Gordon Ross but were then punished by a Gloucester onslaught during which the hosts scored 24 unanswered points in the rest of the first half.
On 22 minutes Morgan finished off a fine Gloucester drive from close range before Burns, returning after a week training with England, slotted home the conversion and a penalty soon after for a 20-6 lead.
On the half-hour Burns made a good break but was held up just short of the try-line. From the resulting drive Welsh’s Matt Corker was sent to the bin and after a quick penalty Fijian Qera touched down. Burns again converted.
Qera was involved again three minutes before the interval as his break, which starting in the Gloucester half, resulted in a great offload to Morgan who had an easy route to the try-line for his second of the game.
Burns converted but recorded the only blip of an otherwise flawless first-half performance when he missed a penalty with the last kick of the half as Gloucester lead 34-6.
It was more of the same after the break and Welsh defended superbly to deny Monahan his second of the evening on 50 minutes, with Scott making the decisive tackle.
The game began to lose its shape as both sides made use of their benches but the visitors got the first points of the second half when Scott crossed on the hour after good work from Gloucester old boy Tom Voyce, Ross scoring the extras.
But that score was cancelled out by substitute Britton who touched down five minutes later for Gloucester’s fifth try of the evening and Burns’ successful conversion took his personal tally to 14 and the score to 39-13.
Morgan grabbed his hat-trick, converted by Cook, on 74 minutes courtesy of a kind bounce but there was still time for Tideswell, pouncing on a Mike Tindall handling error, to add a consolation try at the death.