Challenge Cup: Gloucester 33-3 Oyonnax

Billy Burns scores
Billy Burns scored on his first European start for Gloucester
European Rugby Challenge Cup - pool five: Gloucester v Oyonnax
Gloucester (26) 33
Tries: Burns, May, Atkinson, penalty, Robson Cons: Laidlaw 4
Oyonnax (3) 3
Pen: Lespinas

Gloucester booked their place in the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup with a comfortable Pool Five victory over Oyonnax at Kingsholm.

The hosts scored three tries in the first 10 minutes through Billy Burns, Jonny May and Mark Atkinson, Regis Lespinas replying with a penalty.

A penalty try just before the break secured Gloucester a bonus point.

Oyonnax dominated territory during the second half, but the Cherry and Whites scored the only try through Dan Robson.

Victory put Gloucester 12 points clear of the second-placed French side at the top of the pool with only one game left to play, and they are almost certain of a home tie in the last eight.

They could hardly have got off to a better start as Burns raced on to Billy Twelvetrees's grubber kick to run in untouched, with Greig Laidlaw adding the conversion.

Lespinas reduced the deficit with a penalty, but Gloucester soon extended their lead when good hands from Burns and Atkinson sent May racing in at the corner.

Laidlaw again added the extras but was off target after Atkinson scored Gloucester's third try after only 10 minutes following good work from Tonga wing David Halaifonua.

The home side were also having the better of things at the scrum and were rewarded with a penalty try, which Laidlaw converted with the last kick of the first half for a 26-3 lead.

England wing May was replaced by Stevie McColl at half-time, but it was Gloucester's defence that impressed in the second half as they held firm to keep the visitors at bay.

And it was the home side who scored the only points of the half with the last play of the game when James Hook sent Robson over.

Gloucester director of Rugby David Humphreys told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

"I thought we took every opportunity in the first half that came along. We played some really good rugby with a little bit of variety, we went over the top, we went round and we tried to go through them, so that's what we are looking for, that's all about how we are trying to develop our game.

"In the second half I thought we defended magnificently, we stopped them scoring tries, we've worked hard and we've had a good bonus-point win.

"We are delighted with that, it has now given us a really, really good chance to achieve the second part of what we wanted to do, which is to get a home quarter-final.

"To do well in this competition we need to get a home quarter-final, that gives us the best opportunity to progress to the semi-finals. So, from our point of view, until we are certain we have got a home quarter-final the match at Brive's certainly not a dead rubber."

Gloucester: Hook; Halaifonua, Atkinson, Twelvetrees (capt), May; Burns, Laidlaw; Thomas, Hibbard, Afoa; Savage, Hudson; Kalamafoni, Kvesic, Evans.

Replacements: Dawidiuk, Murphy, Knight, Stooke, Moriarty, Robson, Meakes, McColl.

Oyonnax: Smit; Codjo, Bousses, Paea, Coux; Lespinas, Cibray (capt); Rapant, Ngauamo, Guillamon; Lassale, Lagrange; Bernad, Ursache, Wannenburg.

Replacements: Jullien, Tichit, Clerc, Sobela, Domenech, Hansell-Pune, Denos, Fabbri.

Att: 9,381

Referee: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)

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