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Gloucester 29 Worcester Warriors 23
REFEREE David Rose awarded Gloucester a match-winning penalty try amid huge late drama at Kingsholm tonight.
With the clock dead and Warriors leading 23-22, home winger Jonny May burst from deep and was felled by a trip from Errie Claassens, which saw the full-back red-carded following consultation with the TMO.
It was a cruel twist of fate for Warriors, who thought they had picked up their first Aviva Premiership away win in over a year when fly-half Ryan Mills knocked-on, but the touch-judge’s flag was up and the victory was snatched from their grasp.
Gloucester dominated the possession and territory stakes in the first-half, but dogged Warriors refused to lie down.
Up until the 36th minute, all Gloucester had to show for their upper hand was a slender 6-3 advantage courtesy of two Rob Cook penalties to Andy Goode’s one.
Considering Worcester lost Sam Betty to the sin-bin for an ugly shoulder charge on the half-hour mark, they did well to keep their line intact, helped by home scrum-half Dan Robson knocking-on when the Cherry and Whites were inches from scoring.
However, the mercurial Josh Matavesi, who had earlier been guilty of giving away a number of stupid penalties, turned the game on its head.
Goode picked up a low pass by his boot laces and fired an arrow to his inside-centre, who neatly stepped around Henry Trinder, who had shot out of the defensive line, and galloped over to score beneath the posts.
Fly-half Goode added the conversion and Warriors had an unlikely 10-6 lead, but it was to be short-lived despite there being just three minutes left in the half.
From the re-start, the hosts worked the ball wide to the electric Jonny May, who scorched clear from deep, before sending Trinder over to make amends for his costly missed tackle.
Cook made it a seven-pointer to edge Gloucester ahead again. Warriors started the second-half poorly, conceding penalties that allowed Cook to nudge Gloucester 16-10 ahead, before fly-half Ryan Mills added a kick to make it 19-10.
Goode wasted a chance to pull six points back by first chipping a penalty to the corner but not finding his man and then missing a presentable shot at goal.
Out of nowhere, Gloucester handed Warriors a way back into the contest with a bungled 22 drop-out that centre Alex Grove intercepted, before racing to the line. Goode added the conversion to put Warriors into the lead.
Cook and Danny Gray, on for Goode, exchanged penalties, so it stood 23-22 to Worcester with 38 seconds left to play.
Gloucester summoned up one final surge and May’s superb break down the left flank ultimately proved enough to snatch the victory.
Warriors: Claassens; Pennell, Grove, Matavesi (Drauniniu, 61), Lemi; Goode (Gray, 64), Arr (Hodgson, 68); Mullan, Shervington (Lutui, 64), Murray (Andress, 68), Percival, Schofield (Gillies, 62), Betty (Abbott, 68), Kvesic, Cowan. Not used: Ceri Jones.
Referee: David Rose.