Burns gets Gloucester into Final

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 09:05
Large billy burns gloucester breaks 800

EUROPEAN CHALLENGE CUP: Gloucester flyhalf Billy Burns scored all of his team's points as the English side defeated French Top 14 league leaders La Rochelle 16-14 to reach the European Challenge Cup final on Saturday.

Gloucester will face either Stade Francais or local rivals Bath in the May 12 Final in Edinburgh, after sending La Rochelle to a first home defeat of the season.

"We played well during the first 40-50 minutes but missed chances to score tries. In the last 25 minutes, La Rochelle came back at us but we defended with character.

"We have lost matches in the last few minutes this season and we knew that La Rochelle would pose a lot of challenges in the mauls," Gloucester coach David Humphreys said.

In their fifth meeting in two years, the match turned in the 59th minute when Gloucester, already 9-6 ahead, claimed their only try when Burns intercepted a loose Brock James pass and sprinted 80-metres to score.

Burns converted for a 17-6 lead before a James penalty and an unconverted try after 67 minutes by Damien Lagrange kept Gloucester on a knife-edge. James failed with a drop goal and penalty as Gloucester moved them closer to a third title in the tournament, having been champions in 2006 and 2015.

La Rochelle coach Patrice Collazo, who had won the Challenge Cup as a player with Gloucester in 2006, hopes the defeat won't shatter his team's French title challenge.

"On Monday, I hope our players come in with a smile on their faces and prepare for the game against Montpellier that could assure us of a place in the semi-finals if we win," said Collazo.

Agence France-Presse

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