Gloucester 22-20 Wasps, Aviva Premiership, September 25
Robinson puts boot into Wasps
September 25, 2010
Gloucester's Nicky Robinson celebrates his match-winning kick
© Getty Images
A monster penalty at the death from former Wales fly-half Nicky Robinson secured a much-needed 22-20 victory for Gloucester over Wasps in their Aviva Premiership showdown at Kingsholm on Saturday.
Wasps had made the journey along the M4 with their tails up after a thrilling comeback win over Leicester Tigers last weekend and while they outscored Gloucester by two tries to one they could not overcome the combined passion of the home side's pack and the accuracy of their goal-kickers.
Robinson and Tim Taylor shared a haul of 17 points to eclipse tries by Dan Ward-Smith and Joe Simpson, with the home side's only five-pointer coming courtesy of a sparkling break by centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu.
The Cherry and Whites were in desperate need of the result after last weekend's loss to London Irish, which added further strain to the coaching panel after their opening day defeat to Exeter and muddled, narrow victory over Leeds. Led by scrum-half Rory Lawson following Mike Tindall's demotion to the bench they produced by far their best 80 minutes of the season to date, combining grit and determination with some winning defence to deny a Wasps outfit who have some questions to answer about their consistency.
Wasps struck first thanks to a Dave Walder penalty, which ducked and swerved through the uprights with a helping hand from the wind, but Gloucester's opening burst was sharp and concise. A superb leap at the restart from fullback Charlie Sharples set up Taylor's first penalty immediately after Walder's effort and driven on by a boisterous performance from Lawson
Gloucester made inroads into Wasps' 22 and swarmed all over the visitors in defence. Wasps centre Riki Flutey twice found wide open space with some quick feet but was shut down quickly by a well-drilled Gloucester line. Composure deserted Wasps prop Tim Payne and Gloucester's No.8 Brett Deacon after 21 minutes however, with both seeing yellow after first trading some reckless footwork and later several punches.
Taylor pounced for a second penalty after good work by the Gloucester scrum but the visitors soon raised the ire of the home crowd by securing the opening try. Ward-Smith attacked a sliver of space between Andy Hazell and Tim Molenaar in midfield and with the two Gloucester men slipping off their tackles the No.8 coasted over under the posts.
Walder added the extras but Taylor brought the home side within one with his third penalty. Samoan international centre Fuimaono-Sapolu then upped the ante further and his try was brilliantly executed. After undoing the Wasps defence with a subtle dummy he palmed off a challenge from Dom Waldouck and coasted in for a thrilling solo score. The faultless Taylor knocked over the conversion but did not re-emerge for the second-half after picking up an injury clearing his lines, early reports suggesting possible knee ligament damage.
The opening minutes of the second-half were scarred by repeated infringements at the breakdown but neither side profited on the scoreboard as both Walder and Robinson failed with long-range efforts.
A moment of brilliance from Wasps replacement Richard Haughton lit the touch paper for a second-half that had threatened to peter out. The former Saracens wing took an aimless kick and left Hazell grasping at thin air, recycling the ball quickly. Simpson snaffled the pill at the base of the ruck and ghosted through the remaining tackles to score another excellent try. Walder's conversion was good but only secured the lead for a short while, Robinson finding his range from distance to open up a two-point margin in the home side's favour. However, a third Flutey break set Wasps up with some much-needed territory and Walder regained the lead with a simple penalty eight minutes from time.
Robinson stepped up to push Gloucester back in front from all of 59 metres following a scrum penalty and when Walder fluffed a similar effort for the visitors with moments remaining, the celebrations began in the shed.