Premiership: Gloucester 39-15 London Irish
|Gloucester (20) 39|
|Tries: Ludlow, Burns 2, Polledri, Purdy Cons: Twelvetrees 4 Pens: Twelvetrees 2|
|London Irish (8) 15|
|Tries: du Plessis, Paulo Cons: Bell Pens: Bell|
Gloucester extended their winning run to five games after cruising past London Irish, who had David Paice sent off before half-time.
Paice saw red in the 40th minute for an off-the-ball hit on Willi Heinz, who failed to return for the second half.
Before going a man down the score was 20-8 following tries from Gloucester's Lewis Ludlow and Billy Burns, and a reply from Petrus du Plessis.
Further tries from Burns, Jake Polledri and Henry Purdy sealed the win.
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While the late first-half drama cost Gloucester the leadership of captain Heinz, who failed his head injury assessment at the break following the heavy blow from Paice, the hosts made their numerical advantage count almost immediately.
Burns went over for his second, and Gloucester's third try, with Billy Twelvetrees landing the extras to make it 27-8.
Twelvetrees landed his sixth kick of the day after Polledri raced away to secure a try-scoring bonus point, and while Teofilo Paulo managed to muscle over in response for the visitors, they were already consigned to their ninth straight Premiership defeat.
Purdy then exposed an undermanned Irish, taking a cross-field kick from Burns to run in a fifth try, as Gloucester won five in a row in the league for the first time since March 2011 to move up to second in the table.
Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann:
"The biggest thing is we ground it out tonight. It was not pretty but we showed we can go down in that arm wrestle.
"But I will not lie to say I am pleased with the way we have played. We had a lack of intensity and accuracy but it is mixed emotions because you have to be grateful that you have got over the winning line and scored 39 points."
On the injury to Willi Heinz:
"He is fine and is walking around. I don't foresee any dangers that he will be out for a few weeks. If he is out, it will not be for more than a week.
"I don't think it was intentional. Nobody goes out and gets a red card because he knows how much pressure he will put on his side.
"There are rules and the referee has no choice if it is something that happens in certain parts of the body."
London Irish director of rugby Nick Kennedy told BBC Radio Berkshire:
"It was a definite red card (for David Paice). I watched it once back on the replay and the referee got it spot on.
"We pride ourselves on our discipline and we really let ourselves down going down to 14 men.
"We were very much in the game at the time, a few elements were going really well for us and if we'd have gone on with 15 men, we would've had tactical plans for the second half.
"But, all the plans go out of the window when you've got 14 men. You need to change systems, structures and then ask the boys to put in an incredible bit of effort to make up that man disadvantage."
Gloucester: Hudson; Purdy, Symons, Twelvetrees, Thorley; Burns, Heinz (capt); Hohneck, Hanson, Afoa, Savage, Thrush, Polledri, Ludlow, Ackermann.
Replacements: Hibbard, McAllister, Denman, Clarke, Safe, Vellacott, Scott, Atkinson.
London Irish: Marshall; Cokanasiga, Mulchrone, McLean, Lewington; Bell, Steele; Elrington, Paice (capt), Du Plessis, Van der Merwe, Paulo, Coman, Northcote-Green, Cowan.
Replacements: Woolstencroft, Reid, Hoskins, De Chaves, Treviranus, Meehan, Tonks, Fowlie.