European Challenge Cup final: Edinburgh 13-19 Gloucester

By Brendon MitchellBBC Sport
Premiership side Gloucester secured their first European Challenge Cup since 2006
Edinburgh (6) 13
Try: Ford Con: Hidalgo-Clyne Pens: Hidalgo-Clyne 2
Gloucester (13) 19
Try: Twelvetrees Con: Laidlaw Pens: Laidlaw 4

Gloucester held on to beat Edinburgh and lift the European Challenge Cup, despite having Bill Meakes sent off.

Billy Twelvetrees scored a fine opening try, while Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Greig Laidlaw exchanged penalties to leave Gloucester 13-6 ahead at the interval.

Laidlaw extended the lead to 13 points from the tee, but Meakes was red-carded for a high tackle with 17 minutes left.

Ross Ford's try boosted Edinburgh's hopes, but Gloucester held on for their first European trophy in nine years.

Billy Twelvetrees
Gloucester captain Billy Twelvetrees touched down to leave his side in front at half-time

Under director of rugby David Humphreys, the Cherry and Whites have endured a frustrating campaign domestically, sitting ninth in the Premiership table with only eight wins from 20 matches so far.

But, with victory over Edinburgh, they became the fourth English club to have won the Challenge Cup twice or more, while ensuring a Scottish team have still yet to lift a major European trophy.

Having started the nervier of the two sides, trailing to Hidalgo-Clyne's early penalty, Laidlaw kicked Gloucester level against his former employers before England centre Twelvetrees scored the first try of the final after a brilliantly worked set-piece.

The Cherry and Whites secured good ball from a line-out and, following James Hook's initial pass, Jonny May teed up Twelvetrees to run in under the posts.

Bill Meakes
Bill Meakes was shown a red card for a high tackle with 17 minutes remaining

Displaying a greater physicality at the breakdown, Gloucester soon took control, but their Pro12 opponents successfully survived first May's eye-catching break and then 10 minutes without the sin-binned Anton Bresler.

However, their resistance would not continue after the break, and two more Laidlaw penalties extended the English club's advantage to 13 points to leave them in complete control.

But Cherry and Whites indiscipline, as Ross Moriarty was yellow-carded for a knee in the back and Meakes sent off for a high tackle, allowed Edinburgh back into the match, prompting Ford to force his way over to reduce the arrears to six points.

The Scottish side continued to press, but some tenacious defence and then some smart possession play in the closing stages meant Gloucester were able to see the game out and secure the trophy.

Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

"We played very well in the first half. Coming into the game we talked about creating pace in the game and not letting Edinburgh settle.

"We did that at certain points, we were a tap-tackle away from probably making it very difficult for Edinburgh to come back in to the game.

"But, a huge amount of credit to them and a huge amount of indiscipline on our part allowed them back into the game and it was a very nervy last 10 minutes.

"Over the last few weeks, this is the way it's gone. There's unbelievable character and there's unbelievable belief within this squad."

Edinburgh: Tonks; Fife, Beard, Strauss, Visser; Burleigh, Hidalgo-Clyne; Dickinson, Ford, Nel, Bresler, Toolis, Coman (capt), Grant, Du Preez.

Replacements: McInally, Sutherland, Andress, McKenzie, Watson, Fowles, Heathcote, Brown.

Gloucester: Sharples; May, Meakes, Twelvetrees (capt), Purdy; Hook, Laidlaw; Wood, Hibbard, Afoa, Savage, Palmer, Moriarty, Kvesic, Evans.

Replacements: Dawidiuk, Thomas, Puafisi, Galarza, Rowan, Robson, Burns, McColl.

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