Gloucester comeback stuns Fiji

Wed, 14 Nov 2012 07:54
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English Premiership club Gloucester came from 18-0 down after 33 minutes to beat Fiji 31-29 at Kingsholm Stadium on Tuesday.

English Premiership club Gloucester came from 18-0 down after 33 minutes to beat Fiji 31-29 at Kingsholm Stadium on Tuesday.

Fiji stole a breathtaking first half of running rugby by both sides, but Gloucester kept it tight in the second, earned two penalty tries and didn't grab the lead until 11 minutes to go. Even then, Fiji had chances to win the thriller, but Gloucester hung on.

Fiji, 54-12 losers to England on Saturday, rebounded in style. Tries to hooker Tuapati Talemaitoga and wing Timoci Matanavou helped build an 18-0 lead.

Unable to stay with Fiji in the open, Gloucester changed tactics and were buoyed by a late first-half try to flank Matt Cox that left the home side only eight points behind at the break.

Fiji scored first after the interval, Jonetani Ralulu's crosskick setting up a try for wing Watisoni Votu, but Gloucester hammered Fiji up front and drew yellow cards to Fiji replacement prop Penijamni Makutu, then No.8 Nemani Naqusa. Both ended up watching their team concede penalty tries. Gloucester trailed 26-24 with 16 minutes to go.

Ralulu's fourth penalty made it 29-24, but Gloucester kicked for the corner, drove the line-out and Koree Britton dived over to level. Dan Robson's conversion gave them the lead. Fiji squandered their last chances, a long-range penalty and a five-meter attacking scrum.

The scorers:

For Gloucester:
Tries: Cox, Penalty try 2, Britton
Cons: Robson 4
Pen: Robson

For Fiji:
Tries: Talemaitoga, Matanavou, Vatu
Con: Ralulu
Pens: Ralulu 4

Yellow cards: Makutu, Nagusa

Gloucester: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Steph Reynolds, 13 Drew Locke, 12 Tim Molenaar, 11 Ian Clark, 10 Dan Robson, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Peter Buxton (captain) 7 Matt Cox, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Harry Casson, 4 Will Graulich, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Koree Britton, 1 Yann Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso d'Apice, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Tom Heard, 19 Ed King, 20 Ben Sparks, 21 Bred Field, 22 George Boulton.

Fiji: 15 Metuisila Talebula, 14 Timoci Matanavou, 13 Samu Wara, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Watisoni Votu, 10 Jonetani Ralulu, 9 Kelemedi Bola, 8 Nemani Naqusa. 7 Malakai Volau, 6 Jovili Domolailai, 5 Sekonaia Kalou, 4 Apisolame Ratuniyarama, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Tuapati Talemaitoga, 1 Setefano Samoca
Replacements: 16 Seremaia Naureure, 17 Deacon Manu, 18 Ratu Penijamni Makutu, 19 Api Naikatini, 20 Iliesa Ratuva, 21 Nikola Matawalu, 22 Ravai Fatiaki, 23 Aisea Natoga.

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