Adam Hastings' sensational 60-metre drop goal edged Gloucester to a tense 21-22 win over rivals London Irish in Brentford on Friday night
First-half tries from Santiago Socino and Ruan Ackermann kept Gloucester in touch as the hosts took a 18-12 lead into the break thanks to tries from Agustin Creevy and Ben Loader as well as a pair of penalties and a conversion from the boot of Paddy Jackson.
Irish captain Jackson landed another penalty in the second half but the visitors hit back when hooker Socino grabbed his second score from a rampaging driving maul, leaving his side two points behind.
But Hastings' moment of magic saw him nail a booming drop-goal from inside his own half before George Skivington’s side held firm to secure a nail-biting away win.
Rugby reporter Sam Rhymes takes a closer look at the individual displays from the Cherry and White players the Gtech Community Stadium.
READ MORE: London Irish 21-22 Gloucester Rugby LIVE: Reaction as Adam Hastings sinks 53m drop goal to win it
The Argentine oozes class with every touch and continued to display his astute kicking game from the back. Relatively early shift across to the wing didn’t affect him, solid both sides of the ball. Marshalled proceedings maturely.
The damp conditions in Brentford limited chances of an out and out foot-race with Ollie Hassell-Collins, but the Welsh flyer seems to add to the game each time he plays. Much more visible off his wing and not afraid to put his head where it will hurt in defence. Went down more than once with a slight ankle issue but dug deep to grind it out for his team.
A quiet night for the experienced centre with limited clean ball to play with, however defensively marshalled his team expertly. Without Mark Atkinson the midfield has a very different balance, but the Scottish international was rock solid in defence at critical moments, recovering well to stop dangerman Hassell-Collins on at least two occasions.
A couple aggressive early carries from the Georgian gave the visitors gain line momentum, one of which led to Socino's first try in the corner, but his threat was nullified as the game went on as he lost the physical arm wrestle with Benhard van Rensburg. A couple handling errors marred his display. Still needs to impact the game more from 12, highlighting just how much Gloucester miss Atkinson. Replaced before the hour mark and left the field shaking his head.
Absolute heartbreak for the England winger. Only his fifth game in nine months was ended on 25 minutes when he suffered a very nasty elbow injury trying to stop Loader from scoring. Looked much more like himself early on getting involved off his wing although he was met with some physical defence. Everyone will be hoping it is a swift recovery.
Rode the early barrage of London Irish forwards in defence very well, making some solid tackles off set-piece. The Scotsman’s kicking variety was flawless early on and showed great composure to set up Socino’s try in the corner as he wrapped around a maul to attack the blindside, delay his pass and put hooker in. His confidence personified with an absolute monster drop goal from all of 60 metres, showing brilliant game management. He is growing into a key figure in this Cherry and White side; instrumental.
The youngster brings such a tempo to proceedings when he is at the helm. His neat service and threat around the fringes make him a valuable asset for George Skivington. His box-kicking can be sharpened especially when the game gets tight, but overall an encouraging display. Laid down a marker to become the first-choice nine.
The front-rower started the week with a call-up to the England squad and started this game in the same vein that has earned him that selection with a crucial intervention to hold-up the ball over the line to stop what would have been an early second try for Irish.
Plays like an extra back-row at the breakdown with three turnovers, and topped the tackle stats. His desire epitomised as he was first to every ruck with the clock reading 79 minutes played. Outstanding and thoroughly deserving of the man of the match award.
In from the start after a brilliant cameo off the bench last week and picked up where he left off with a well taken early finish in the corner. The Puma was dynamic around the park but continues to have his nuts and bolts nailed down at set-piece time this season. A beneficiary of the relentless driving maul, and scored a vital second try that brought his side right back into the contest at a crucial time in the game. Off on the hour after giving his all.
The prop made himself known in the loose as he helped Gloucester get go forward in the greasy conditions. A brilliant effort to go the full effort eighty minutes from the veteran chalking up 13 tackles and anchored a solid scrum throughout.
A 26th consecutive Premiership start for the athletic second-row, and despite missing out on an England call earlier this week the athletic lock was kept under wraps well by the Irish pack. Line-outs were smooth overall and the partnership with Alemanno grows week-to-week.
Industrious in the loose as per and made a nuisance of himself around the breakdown constantly pressuring Ben White’s box-kicks. A towering target at the line-out gives his team such a solid platform, four line-outs won to his name show the consistency he brings.
The big blindside flanker was kept under wraps well by the home side for large parts, eight tackles and some explosive carries all made a difference. Solid but not spectacular after wining the man of the match award last weekend.
Always leading by example in defence, anchoring his side’s work off the ball. His fascinating battle with Pearson that lasted the full 80 minutes was full-blooded and ferocious, the skipper never took a backward step. Nine tackles and starved the home side of any quick ball, with a real flanker’s shift, although Pearson's carrying was impressive.
Showed more brute strength to power over from close range for his try and continues to be the man who drives the physicality levels of his pack. Single-handedly pulled his side out of trouble to hold-up a driving maul that was heading for the line. Gave away a few penalties, but another forward who got into double figures for tackles made.
Much improved from last week, accurate at the line-out and got himself about in the loose. Great energy.
Talk about an instant impact. Back to haunt his former side with an explosive 20 minute cameo with five tackles and three turnovers. Had the bit between his teeth ball in hand and looked so hungry.
Did exactly what he needed to and took control, kicked intelligently and saw the game out.
Continues to impress. Flew around and tackled anything in front of him, another replacement who added impetus.
Composed under the high ball and defensively sound as per. Booming 50-22 set the pack up for more maul dominance. Very tidy performance.
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