Premiership: Gloucester 30-28 London Irish – Billy Twelvetrees wins late penalty
|Gloucester (19) 30|
|Try: Carreras, Heinz, Moyle, Rees-Zammit The inconvenients: Twelvetrees 2 Pens: Twelvetrees 2|
|Irish London (25) 28|
|Try: Rona, Goodrick-Clarke, Tuisue The inconvenients: Jackson 2 Pens: Jackson 3|
Gloucester narrowly beat the London Irish with a Billy Twelvetrees penalty in extra time that shattered the Exiles’ hopes of a top-six finish.
The two sides traded three tries apiece in an entertaining first half as the London Irish led 25-19 in the interval.
A more cautious second half saw Gloucester lead after Louis Rees-Zammit’s try and Twelvetrees first penalty after a Rob Simmons sin.
Paddy Jackson’s penalty put the Irishman 28-27 ahead of Twelvetrees’ three points.
Gloucester climbs to 10th as a losing bonus point leaves the Irishman seventh with two games to go. Leicester, sixth, who has the same number of points, will face Worcester at the bottom of the table on Saturday.
Results elsewhere over the weekend could see Declan Kidney’s side slide as low as ninth.
The Irish were fortunate enough to close the game in the last minute, but conceded a penalty at Gloucester’s 22-yard line when they failed to release it before the Cherry and Whites gained an advantage over the following offensive lineup which allowed Twelvetrees to score the goal. .
The lead had changed hands four times in the first half as the Irish led initially by Curtis Rona before Santiago Carreras and Willi Heinz quickly followed in response.
Will Goodrick-Clarke edged the Irish with their second but Gloucester led again thanks to full-back Kyle Moyle. Albert Tuisue finished the first half with an Irish third try from London that gave them a six-point lead.
Australian lock Simmons was sent to the trash on time for a high tackle on Gloucester hooker Jack Singleton and Welsh winger Rees-Zammit went from the resulting penalty to bring the hosts to a point.
Twelvetrees missed that conversion attempt to regain the lead, but he wouldn’t make any mistakes in his next two efforts off the tee, which ultimately turned out to be decisive.
Gloucester head coach George Skivington told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:
“I expected it to be a close game, we are not a million kilometers apart in the league and we are two teams that are building well.
“In the first half we had a lot of good times, but we gave stupid penalties and a position on the pitch. I thought our discipline was better in the second half.
“I didn’t think we were clinical enough, but in the end we did it and performed really well after winning those last two penalties.
“You need great players and strong personalities at times like this and Billy certainly took the chance.
“There are a lot of things we need to work on, but I think there is more confidence now in the system and there are glimpses of what we are trying to build on offense.”
Irish rugby director in London Declan Kidney:
“A game doesn’t normally depend on one game, but we should have performed better at the end so it’s very disappointing.
“Some parts of our game have been good, but we don’t focus on whether we can secure a place in the European Cup but just try to take each game as it comes and hopefully to continue to improve.
Gloucester: Moyle; Rees-Zammit, Harris, Atkinson, Carreras; Twelvetrees, Heinz; Rapava-Ruskin, Singleton, Balmain, Slater, Craig, Ackermann, Ludlow (captain), Morgan.
Substitutes: Socino, Ford-Robinson, Stanley, Garvey, Clarke, Varney, Evans, Thorley.
Irish from London: Parton; Stokes, Rona, P Cokanasiga, Hassell-Collins; Jackson, married; Goodrick-Clarke, Creevy, Chawatama, Nott, Simmons, Rogerson (captain), Donnell, Tuisue.
Substitutes: Matu’u, Gigena, Hoskins, Coleman, O’Brien, Englefield, Atkins, Hepetema.
Sin-bin: Simmons (49 minutes).
Arbitrator: Matthew Carley.