Tipped by many to be genuine tile contenders this year, Gloucester certainly looked the part in the second-half as they dismantled the Sharks in virtually every department in a rampant performance to record their fifth straight win over the side from the north-west. However, it was the Sharks who got off to the better start to the game, silencing the raucous home crowd within the two minutes, winger Mark Cueto going over for the try although Charlie Hodgson was unable to add the extras.
Gloucester’s marksman Ludovic Mercier put the home side back into the lead with two penalties before Hodgson nailed his first successful kick to give the visitors an apparent two-point lead at half-time.
That was before Henry Paul, a recent omission from Clive Woodward’s 50-man England elite squad, went over a try under the posts in injury-time, Mercier adding the conversion to give Gloucester a 13-8 half-time lead.
In the second half, Gloucester upped the tempo and it proved too much for the Sharks as they leaked three tries in ten minutes.
First, speedster Jamie Forrester cruised over for his first try of the game before fellow winger Tom Beim added a third ninty seconds later as the Cherry and Whites suddently found themselves 25-8 up.
It got better for Nigel Melvile’s charges as their most high-profile summer signing, former Springbok Thinus Delport, marked his home debut with a try to seal the all-important bonus point.
From then on it was all Gloucester, flanker Jake Boer grabbing a sixth try on 67 minutes before Forrester got his second try of the day to round off a highly satisfactory day for the west country club.
GloucesterTries: Forrester 2, Paul, Beim, Deport, BoerCons: Mercier 4Pens: Mercier 2
SharksTries: CuetoPens: Hodgson