Gloucester dig deep to beat Wasps with only 14 men thanks to last-gasp penalty

Ben Coles
·4-min read
Billy Twelvetrees slots home the penalty that won the match for Gloucester in the 77th minute - AP
Billy Twelvetrees slots home the penalty that won the match for Gloucester in the 77th minute - AP
  • Wasps 19-20 Gloucester

After going eight games without a Gallagher Premiership win Gloucester now have back-to-back victories, despite watching a healthy 17-point lead disappear before Billy Twelvetrees stepped up to land the match-winning penalty against Wasps three minutes from time.

Gloucester played most of the match with 14 men following Ollie Thorley's red card after 27 minutes yet overcame that setback and Wasps' resurgence, with the home side now having won just one of their past six matches.

"The boys did unbelievably well. For Billy to kick that at the end is definitely a welcome relief. But in the context of the game, the boys, their character was outstanding," said Gloucester head coach George Skivington.

Gloucester made the better start, their hooker Santiago Socino touching down following a maul. Fly-half George Barton, making his first Premiership start for the Cherry and Whites, impressively landed the conversion from out wide to give Gloucester a 7-0 lead.

An otherwise quiet first half was then interrupted by Thorley's red card, after a head-on-head collision with Wasps' Rob Miller chasing down a kick.

Another long foul play review followed, Wasps centre Malakai Fekitoa this time shown a yellow card for his input in a scrap, racing in to push Socino.

That meant both sides were playing with 14 on the field as Gloucester came up with a well-worked try through Chris Harris, with Twelvetrees' flat pass freeing Lewis Ludlow, combining with Willi Heinz to put Scotland centre Harris away.

Wasps had a real chance to score themselves before the break, with Gloucester doing well to hold up the ball to take a 17-0 lead into half-time.

Facing up to another defeat Wasps needed a response, and they certainly got one. First, with James Gaskell scoring before a brilliant break and inside pass from prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen put Miller away for Wasps' second try in five minutes.

Gloucester still led but faced a tricky final few minutes after being down to 14 players for so long, with Wasps always threatening. Full credit to the hosts for sticking at it and finding a way over, with Josh Bassett, their excellent wing, spinning and powering his way to the corner. With Jimmy Gopperth's conversion, Wasps took the lead at 19-17 for the first time in the match with eight minutes left.

Now it was Gloucester's turn to dig deep, and how. Their scrum produced a penalty, Jamal Ford-Robinson earning the plaudits, to give Twelvetrees an attempt from 40 metres out which he nailed to give Gloucester a precious one-point lead, enough to clinch their second Premiership win on the bounce.

Wasps head coach Lee Blackett cited his team's penalty count, conceding 14, as a key issue.

"It's a very down dressing room, as you imagine. There's a lot of frustration there. The thing we've spoken most about is our discipline and we have to learn, otherwise you're just not going to win Premiership games. We must be giving ourselves this image that we're ill-disciplined, because referees seem to be pinging us off the park.”

Scoring sequence: 0-5 Socino try, 0-7 Barton con, 0-10 Barton pen, 0-15 Harris try, 0-17 Barton con, 5-17 Gaskell try, 7-17 Umaga con, 12-17 Miller try, 17-17 Bassett try, 19-17 Gopperth con, 19-20 Twelvetrees pen

Wasps: R Miller; Z Kibirge, M Fekitoa, M le Bourgeois (rep J Gopperth 68), J Bassett; J Umaga, W Porter (rep B Vellacott 55); T West (rep B Harris 60), G Oghre, J Toomaga-Allen (rep N Thomas 68), W Rowlands (rep L Douglas 75), J Gaskell, B Shields (c), T Young (rep T Cruse 60), T Willis (rep S Vailanu 65)

Gloucester: K Moyle (rep C Sharples 69); S Carreras, C Harris, B Twelvetrees, O Thorley; G Barton (rep T Seabrook 61), W Heinz (rep C Chapman 72); A Seville (rep J Ford-Robinson 49), S Socino (rep H Walker 49), J Stanley (rep C Knight 49), E Slater, M Alemanno (rep A Craig 60), J Reid, L Ludlow (c), R Ackermann (rep J Clement 60)

Referee: M Carley