Henry Trinder marked his return to Kingsholm after a long-term injury with a try as Gloucester Rugby ran out comfortable winners in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
Quickfire tries either side of half-time by Cameron Orr and Trinder gave the Cherry & Whites an unassailable platform against Newport Gwent Dragons as they bowed out of the competition in style.
📸 MATCH ACTION | Welcome back @HenryTrinder
— Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) February 4, 2017
Though last week’s draw to Bath Rugby had put paid to their hopes of qualification, Gloucester were seeking to build more momentum after a four-game unbeaten streak.
And the hosts started on the front foot, as a fine carry from second-row Joe Batley helped bring Gloucester to within a metre of the try-line.
But the Dragons – who won in a European Rugby Challenge cup quarter-final when they were last at Kingsholm – produced a turnover and cleared their lines.
Gloucester thought they had their breakthrough in the 17th minute when Dan Thomas stormed up the pitch and released skipper Callum Braley but the former was adjudged to have stepped into touch.
Hooker Motu Matu’u was throwing his weight around with some crunching hits which slowed up Dragons play, though fly-half Dorian Jones went wide with a drop-goal attempt.
It would be the visitors who drew first blood however as Tom Prydie knocked a penalty over after Gloucester were pinged for coming in at the side.
The Cherry & Whites responded immediately and after a barrage of pressure, Cameron Orr rumbled over off the back of a maul. The try, converted on the touchline by Lloyd Evans, put the home side 7-3 up at the half.
Gloucester raced out of the traps after the break and Trinder, who made his long-awaited return from injury against Bath last week, took on Braley’s pass and flew over the whitewash.
A scrum penalty handed Evans the opportunity to stretch the lead to 13 points – but the Dragons were not about to sink without trace.
On the hour, the Dragons unleashed their own power from the maul as Matthew Screech got the touch to cut the deficit, though Prydie’s conversion was missed.
Gloucester were not to be denied and replacement Charlie Beckett nearly capped the game off with a powerful finish – on review by the TMO he had been held up by the Dragons defence.
Moments later though young scrum-half Ben Vellacott stormed over for his second try in as many games to well and truly wrap the game up.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) February 4, 2017