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Welsh suffer 10th successive defeat

Six penalties from Aled Thomas condemned London Welsh to their 10th consecutive defeat of the season in a dire LV= Cup game at the Kassam Stadium.

The Welsh squandered a great chance to pull off their first win, as despite having the stronger pack, they lacked the control and firepower behind the scrum to secure victory, with three penalties from Will Robinson being the only response.

With the 18-9 win, Gloucester maintained their interest in the competition with home games against Harlequins and Ospreys still to come.

Last weekend, the Exiles lost 47-7 at Bath in the opening match in the competition and subsequently made nine changes to their line-up. Fly-half Will Robinson was given his first start of the season whilst Alan Awcock returned after injury at full-back.

Gloucester were also defeated 28-27 by Exeter in their first match and they fielded a young side. Academy products, Luke Cole and James Gibbons made their club debuts in the front row with Tom Hicks and Callum Braley both introduced for the first time this season. Former Scarlet Thomas was selected as captain.

Welsh began brightly with Peter Browne storming away on a 40-metre run to take his side into the opposition 22. Gloucester were penalised for Robinson to knock over the penalty.

The home side had the better of the opening quarter as Gloucester incurred frequent penalties at the scrum. Robinson had a chance to increase their advantage but was off target with a long range penalty attempt so it remained 3-0 to the hosts at the end of a static first quarter.

Referee Rhys Thomas finally lost his patience with the malfunctioning of the scrums and sent opposing props Shane Cahill (Welsh) and Shaun Knight (Gloucester) to the sin-bin.

Gloucester finally reached the home 22 for the first time midway through the first half and when Welsh were penalised, Thomas brought the scores level.

Minutes later, Thomas was again successful after Welsh lock Dean Schofield picked up a yellow card. The two props returned from the bin in time to see Robinson (two) and Thomas each kick further penalties for a 9-9 half-time score line.

After the restart Thomas kicked his fourth penalty before being switched to centre to accommodate Billy Burns coming on at fly-half. The penalty from Thomas was the only score of an error-ridden third quarter, with the referee's whistle preventing any flow to the game.

Thomas had a chance to extend his side's lead but his kick from half-way fell just short before Welsh had a chance to draw level, but they declined a kickable penalty in favour of an attacking line-out.

However, Welsh lost possession and Gloucester were able to relieve the pressure especially when Seb Stegmann was penalised for not releasing which allowed Thomas his fifth penalty.

Welsh were awarded another penalty straight in front of the posts but again they elected for the line-out. They won this one and battered the Gloucester line, but lacked the finesse to make it count and Thomas made the game safe with his final penalty.


From Belfast Telegraph