Premiership: Gloucester 33-16 Leicester Tigers

Nick Wood
Nick Wood scored his second Premiership try on his return to the starting side
Gloucester (30) 33
Tries: Wood, Sharples, May Cons: Laidlaw 3 Pens: Laidlaw 4
Leicester (9) 16
Try: Mele Con: Williams Pens: Williams 3

A superb first-half performance from Gloucester condemned Leicester to a third straight Premiership defeat.

First-half tries by Nick Wood, Charlie Sharples and Jonny May were all converted by Greig Laidlaw, who also added three penalties as the Cherry and Whites led 30-9 at the interval.

Laidlaw notched another penalty to extend the hosts' lead before Tigers' Niki Goneva was sent to the sin bin.

David Mele completed the scoring with a consolation try for the visitors.

Gloucester added to the woes of Leicester's head coach Richard Cockerill, in a game that was over as a contest by half-time.

Former Gloucester favourite Freddie Burns was a late recall to the Tigers starting line-up, but the kicking duties fell to Owen Williams and it was the centre who put Leicester ahead in the opening minutes.

Home scrum-half Laidlaw replied with three penalties in quick succession as the visitors repeatedly fell foul of referee Andrew Small.

The first try of the afternoon went to the unlikely figure of Wood, who reacted first when Burns' attempted clearance was charged down by Tom Savage. The lock gathered the ball and the prop was on hand to take the final pass and fall over the line.

Laidlaw converted and added the extras to Sharples's try after the winger darted between Goneva and Blaine Scully to touch down.

Not to be outdone, Gloucester's other winger May benefitted from some good passing and poor Leicester defence to cross in the corner, Laidlaw again slotting the conversion.

In a scrappy second half, Laidlaw kicked his fourth penalty to push Gloucester closer to victory and the hosts' cause was helped further when Goneva was shown a yellow card for an illegal tackle.

Leicester did have the final say, but Mele's late, converted try was merely a consolation that gave the scoreline an air of respectability, with Gloucester celebrating their first win against Tigers at Kingsholm since 2012.

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill:

"We've got a great system with really good people and chucking mud at that whole environment is wrong.

"You can look at the results as just the results, or you can look at the results and look around the circumstances we are operating under at the moment.

"The first 20 minutes or so it was a very even game, then we made some poor decisions and it unravelled for 10 minutes and we never recovered.

"We got beaten, we didn't play as well as we could have done or should have done, and you get punished.

"The result is my responsibility. We are going to stick together as a club and work through the issues, and when we come out the other side we will be better for it.

"The club needs to pull together - players, coaches, supporters - we need to stick together, ride the storm and come out the other side.

"I am always under pressure for results. Am I under any more pressure than normal? You will have to ask the chairman."

Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys:

"We've said all along to give us the first six weeks to see where we are as a team.

"Over the course of the first five of those six weeks we have definitely shown aspects of improvement.

"For the first 40 minutes today we were delighted with the way we played, and we are delighted to come away with a 33-16 win against a team that has been at the top of the Premiership since its inception."

Gloucester: Cook; Sharples, Purdy, Twelvetrees (capt), May; Hook, Laidlaw; Wood, Hibbard, Afoa; Savage, Palmer; Kalamafoni, Kvesic, Morgan.

Replacements: Lutui, Thomas, Puafisi, Stooke, Moriarty, Robson, Atkinson, Isaacs.

Leicester: Tait; Scully, Goneva, Bai, Benjamin; Williams, Youngs (capt); Rizzo, Ghiraldini, Balmain; Thorn, Kitchener; Gibson, Salvi, Barbieri.

Replacements: Briggs, Bristow, Pasquali, De Chaves, Crane, Mele, Burns, Smith.

Yellow cards: Goneva

Referee: Andrew Small

Att: 15,127

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