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Aviva Premiership: Gloucester pile on the misery for London Welsh
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- Gloucester v Harlequins: Teams
- London Irish v Worcester:Teams
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- Sale boost survival hopes
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London Welsh remain five points adrift at the foot of the Aviva Premiership after letting slip a winning position in a 15-14 defeat at Gloucester.
The Exiles led 14-6 with less than a quarter of the game remaining, but Freddie Burns added three penalties to the two he kicked in the first half to edge Gloucester to victory.
Wing Phil MacKenzie's 52nd-minute try and three penalties by fly-half Gordon Ross put Premiership basement club London Welsh on the verge of only their fifth league win this season.
The Exiles could hardly have given any more, yet Gloucester prevailed despite being off-colour in most key areas, as Burns' boot decided a dire contest.
Burns and Ross kicked early penalties, but the initial exchanges were littered by mistakes with neither team able to put together a meaningful passage of play.
A dreadful first half ended with Ross and Burns kicking further penalties, making it 6-6 before the teams trooped off.
Gloucester were temporarily reduced to 14 men after 43 minutes when wing Jonny May was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on inside his own 22, and Ross completed his penalty hat-trick with the resulting kick.
London Welsh continued to grow in confidence, and a superb midfield break by wing Seb Stegmann almost produced the opening try after Burns had rifled a penalty chance wide.
The visitors' back row ball carriers - notably number eight Daniel Browne - also began making headway, and Gloucester's defence was finally breached with May still off.
Slick midfield passing proved enough to unlock the Gloucester defence, and when prop James Tideswell was tackled just short of the line, MacKenzie finished off.
Burns' conversion attempt hit the post, but London Welsh were good value for their 14-6 advantage in front of a stunned Gloucester crowd.
Ross should have extended London Welsh's lead after 59 minutes, but he sent an angled penalty chance wide, which meant Gloucester remained within striking distance entering the final quarter.
Burns then narrowed the gap with his third successful penalty before another strike eight minutes later set up a fraught finale, with London Welsh aiming to hang on.
But the visitors could not hold out, and when Burns inched Gloucester ahead there was no way back for a battling, resilient London Welsh outfit.
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Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com