Vainikolo flight adds to Gloucester’s woes

Gloucester saw their lead at the top of the English Premiership cut to two points by Bath on Friday but the result was overshadowed by flying winger Lesley Vainikolo’s decision to again return home to New Zealand.


Vainikolo, who is the Premiership’s leading scorer with seven tries, jetted home to deal with a “serious family problem”.

It is the second time this season that the Kiwi, who switched to union from Super League giants Bradford, had been forced to make the daunting trip to New Zealand following the death of his brother last year.

“Last night (Thursday) we were informed of a serious family problem in New Zealand that Lesley needed to attend urgently,” said Gloucester head coach Dean Ryan.

“Naturally, our thoughts are with him, we will give him as much time as he needs and support him on his return. Until that happens, we will be making no further comment.” Bath edged closer to Gloucester at the top of the table when they defeated their west country rivals 10-5 in a rain-lashed encounter on Friday.

Gloucester remain two points clear of their bitter rivals, but they have still to win a league game at Bath’s Recreation ground home in 17 attempts.

England centre Olly Barkley’s goalkicking and wing Joe Maddock’s 50th-minute try decided a contest dictated by appalling weather.

Gloucester replacement Chris Paterson reduced the deficit with his first Premiership try, bursting from midfield to cross but his conversion came back off the posts.

As well as the absent Vainikolo, Gloucester were missing international winger James Simpson-Daniel who fell victim to flu on the morning of the match.



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