Gloucester book Challenge Cup final with Edinburgh

Billy Twelvetrees will captain Gloucester

Gloucester booked a place in the European Challenge Cup final at the Twickenham Stoop in two weeks by beating Exeter Chiefs 30-19 at Kingsholm Stadium in the Semi-final.

Exeter scored a try five minutes from full time which got them back in the match but Jonny May scored a breakaway try three minutes from time to put the result beyond doubt.

The Kingsholm triumph books their place in the Twickenham Stoop showcase on May 1. Bill Meakes pounced to bag the opening try in the first-half before Tom Savage and Jonny May crashed over for the triumph.

Exeter mounted a brave comeback with 14 points from Henry Slade’s boot and an Elvis Taione try, but it was not enough to out-muscle the David Humphrey’s men.

Both sides made a lightning fast start to the all-Anglo affair but Gloucester struck first through Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw. The visitors bowed to a spell of Cherry and White pressure and went offside deep in their own territory, and the ever-reliable boot of Laidlaw was on-hand to slot over after 17 minutes.

But the Chiefs were not behind for long as the visitors roared back from kickoff. The Gloucester defence failed to roll away at a ruck which gave Henry Slade the chance to level. His 40 metre shot grazed paint off the cross-bar as it dipped just over.

But the Kigsholm club snatched the initiative in their bid to book a spot at the Twickenham Stoop next month when James Hook’s kick caused chaos on the Chiefs’ line. Matt Jess and Will Chudley collided as they went to field the stab through and Bill Meakes pounced to secure the first try of the contest.

Hook then landed a long-range penalty by a matter of millimetres to give his side a 10-point lead, but Slade matched it to cut their half-time lead to 13-6.

Try-scorer Meakes was the man to make an error in the opening exchanges after the break after Henry Slade stole a turnover and gave Matt Jess the ball to fire downfield. The Australian centre knocked on for a Chiefs scrum and the hosts eventually gave away a penalty. And Slade slotted from out-wide to cut the gap to four points.

The usually reliable boot of Laidlaw was off target and Slade took full advantage down the other end to cut the gap to a single point.

But birthday boy Savage was not about to let the Chiefs ruin his big day. Gloucester drove a short-range lineout towards the line but were foiled just short. However, Savage splintered off to dart over for the decisive score, which Laidlaw converted.

And the Scottish scrum-half sealed their place against Edinburgh Rugby with a tricky penalty shot with just eight minutes remaining.

Taoine had Gloucester fans sweating with a late score, but may sealed the spoils with a late breakout score.

Gloucester’s Tom Savage was named man of the match.

Final Score Gloucester 30 (13) Exeter Chiefs 19 (6)


Tries – Meakes, Savage, May
Pen – Laidlaw (2), Hook
Con – Laidlaw (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Exeter Chiefs
Tries – Taione
Pen – Slade (4)
Con – Steenson
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland),
Assistant ref: Jerome Garces (France),
Assistant ref: Pascal Gauzere (France),
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)


Gloucester Rugby: Charlie Sharples; Jonny May, Bill Meakes, Billy Twelvetrees (c), Henry Purdy; James Hook, Greig Laidlaw; Nick Wood, Richard Hibbard, John Afoa, Tom Savage, Mariano Galarza, Sione Kalafamoni, Matt Kvesic, Gareth Evans

Replacements: Darren Dawiduik, Dan Murphy, Sila Puafisi, Elliot Stooke, Ross Moriarty, Dan Robson, Billy Burns, Brendan Macken

Exeter Chiefs: Phil Dollman; Ian Whitten, Jack Nowell, Sam Hill, Matt Jess; Henry Slade, Will Chudley; Ben Moon, Jack Yeandle, Tom Francis, Dean Mumm (c), Mitch Lees, Dave Ewers, Kai Horstmann, Tom Waldrom

Replacements: Elvis Taione, Carl Rimmer, Alex Brown, Sam Skinner, Tom Johnson, Dave Lewis, Gareth Steenson, Tom James

With thanks to EPCRugby.

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