Gloucester move clear at top
Gloucester went four points clear at the head of the Guinness Premiership with a tense 24-22 victory over Wasps at Kingsholm
Last Updated: 14/03/09 6:13pm
Gloucester went four points clear at the head of the Guinness Premiership with a tense 24-22 victory over Wasps at Kingsholm.
The game featured three outstanding first-half tries but former England ace Josh Lewsey was carried off in the 12th minute with a leg injury, a worrying sign for his possible British Lions prospects.
Olly Barkley's penalty gave Gloucester the early lead but, after Lewsey was taken off, a reshuffled backline sparked Wasps into life.
Lewsey's replacemant, Dave Walder, took over fly-half duties with Cipriani switching to full-back.
Outside centre Dominic Waldouck sent Cipriani on a dashing 40-metre run that ended just short of the line, but he managed to get a pass to the right wing for Lachlan Mitchell to cross and Walder to convert.
Gloucester responded with an even better score - Olly Morgan was put away on his own 22 by fly-half Carlos Spencer and proceeded to race down the touchline, outstripping the covering Wasps defence and dummying to wing Iain Balshaw before diving full-length into the corner.
Two Walder penalties threatened to take Wasps into a half-time lead but Balshaw then followed Morgan into the same corner with another golden run from 40 metres to level matters at 13-13.
Walder and Barkley exchanged penalties before a fourth Walder kick, from in front of the posts, put Wasps 19-16 up.
But a powerful 10-minute spell from Gloucester took them into the lead. They were camped on the Wasps line and the Londoners suffered the loss of French star Serge Betsen to the sin-bin for hands in a ruck.
Moments later Fijian back row Akapusi Qera, on as a blood replacement for number eight Gareth Delve, scored Gloucester's third try with virtually his first touch after almost a year out with cruciate ligament damage.
The lead changed hands twice more as Walder landed his fifth penalty of the match and Barkley his third after a long period where Wasps defended heroically.
Wasps had their chance to win it at the end as they had Gloucester on the ropes on their own line but they failed to get possession with Walder sat in the pocket waiting for a drop-goal attempt.