Jonny Wilkinson weighed in with 15 points, converting his own try and that of Cory Harris and adding two late penalties. But by then Gloucester were firmly in control and on their way to a deserved GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP victory.
Gloucester were without Phil Vickery and Mike Tindall while the Falcons had to cope without Jamie Noon as they rested ahead of England’s clash with Australia next weekend. Gloucester dominated the opening quarter without making a breakthrough, although Gloucester’s Premiership new-boy Anthony Allen went close, and wing Tom May threatened for the Falcons.
The deadlock was finally broken on the half hour by the Falcons. Wing James Hoyle started the move and when Haydn Thomas missed his tackle Cory Harris was able to kick through and score with Wilkinson adding the conversion. Gloucester’s impressive number eight James Forrester immediately plunged the Cherry and Whites back into the reckoning with a 31st-minute try thanks to some great work from the home pack.
Mercier missed with the conversion but he put Gloucester in charge before the break with his first penalty.
Mercier found his kicking range after the break and landed three penalties including a massive 55-metre effort to build a 17-7 lead for Gloucester.
Falcons skipper Wilkinson clawed his side back into the game with a try which he converted. But Gloucester’s super sub Peter Richards, who was held up on the line just minutes after getting onto the field, touched down on 57 minutes following a Gloucester scrum. Mercier converted and then added a fifth penalty to give Gloucester a 27-14 stranglehold.
Wilkinson landed two further penalties but it was not enough to threaten the Cherry and Whites’ march to victory.