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Gloucester raise the European Challenge Cup
36 - 34
The Twickenham Stoop, Twickenham   Att: 12,053
Referee: Nigel Whitehouse
Sunday 21st May 2006, 12:15
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Guide to Twickenham
Gloucester celebrate winning the European Challenge Cup
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Match report
Gloucester are the 2006 European Challenge Cup holders after a thrilling extra-time final against London Irish at the Twicenham Stoop.

The teams were locked at 31-all at the end of the regulation 80 minutes # thanks to two late pushover tries from the never-say-die London Irish side and a rare missed goal from Exiles fly-half Barry Everitt in the final minute. 

Gloucester No 8 James Forrester scored a stunning solo try in the second half of extra time, and another two misses from Everitt handed the trophy to the Cherry and Whites.

The match was played in constant showers throughout, but both sides showed a willingness to chance their arm on attack. Flankers Andy Hazell (Gloucester) and Olivier Magne had a battle royale in the loose, and goal-kickers Ryan Lamb, Ludovic Mercier and Everitt were in superb touch in the slippery conditions.

Everitt opened the scoring with a brace of penalty goals, but Gloucester hit back through the pace of winger Mark Foster. England centre
Mike Tindall chipped the ball through on the blindside of a ruck and Foster out-sprinted the defence for the game#s first try.

Lamb#s well-struck conversion took Gloucester into the lead, and the promising young fly-half extended it with a penalty goal on the 15-minute mark.

London Irish#s Argentinian No 8 Juan Leguizamon made several surging runs to get his side back on to the front foot, but the Exiles couldn#t turn possession into points and Gloucester made them pay. A suberb touch-finder from Lamb allowed the Cherry and Whites to make a rare excursion into enemy territory in the 27th minute, and Hazell powered over for his side#s second try.

The Exiles hit straight back through full-back Delon Armitage, who latched on to a huge Everitt up-and-under to dot down for his eighth try in this season#s Challenge Cup.

Everitt#s conversion was cancelled out by Lamb#s second penalty goal, and Gloucester took a deserved 18-13 lead into the halftime break.

The Exiles had a slight wind at their backs in the second spell, and Everitt narrowed the margin with a snap dropped goal only three minutes into it, but his side were soon a man down as Leguizamon trudged off to the sin-bin for not retreating 10 metres.

With Lamb in the blood-bin, his replacement Mercier took over the kicking battle with Everitt, and the Frenchman slotted two penalty goals from point-blank range. Everitt replied with one of his own, but the game was smashed wide open in the 65th minute when jet-heeled

Gloucester winger James Simpson-Daniel intercepted a speculative Bob Casey pass to run 50 metres and give his side a 12-point lead.

The Exiles pounded the Gloucester try-line for more than a dozen phases as they tried to batter their way back into the game, and they were rewarded when referee Nigel Whitehouse decided replacement prop David Paice had grounded the ball at the bottom of a pile of 16 forwards.

London Irish adopted the same tactics in the dying minutes, and their fans leapt to their feet when television referee Gareth Simmonds awarded hooker Robbie Russell a five-pointer. With the scores level at 31-all and Everitt with a 100 percent kicking record, Gloucester fans were resigned to defeat.

But it wasn#t to be as Everitt#s conversion attempt went well wide, and fans settled in for another 20 engrossing minutes.

An Everitt penalty goal gave London Irish the lead at the end of the first 10 minutes of extra time, but Forrester had the crucial say as he toed ahead the ball and dotted down inches inside the dead-ball line.

Everitt had a chance to winning it with a long-range dropped-goal attempt, and again with a penalty goal from a similar range, but both went on the wrong side of the uprights as Gloucester fans celebrated the final whistle.
Gloucester Rugby V London Irish
  P D C T Pos Player Player Pos T C D P  
Replacement off Rob Thirlby 15 Delon Armitage 1
1 James Simpson-Daniel 14 Topsy Ojo
Mike Tindall 13 Mike Catt (capt)
Anthony Allen 12 Riki Flutey Replacement off
1 Mark Foster 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau
Replacement off 2 1 Ryan Lamb 10 Barry Everitt 2 1 4
Peter Richards 9 Paul Hodgson Replacement off
Replacement off Patrice Collazo 1 Neal Hatley Replacement off
Mefin Davies 2 Robbie Russell 1
Replacement off Jack Forster 3 Richard Skuse Replacement off
Replacement off Jonathan Pendlebury 4 Bob Casey
Alex Brown 5 Nick Kennedy
Peter Buxton (capt) 6 Kieran Roche
Replacement off 1 Andy Hazell 7 Olivier Magne 1 Replacement off
1 James Forrester 8 Juan Leguizamon Yellow card
Replacements
Replacement on Olivier Azam 16 Michael Collins Replacement on
Replacement on Gary Powell 17 David Paice Replacement on
Replacement on Adam Eustace 18 Declan Danaher Replacement on
Replacement on Luke Narraway 19 Phil Murphy Replacement on
Haydn Thomas 20 Gonzalo Tiesi Replacement on
Replacement on 2 1 Ludovic Mercier 21 Ben Willis Replacement on
Replacement on James Bailey 22 Shane Geraghty
Penalty Tries
0
0
First half timeline
1 Gloucester Rugby Gloucester get the match underway, Everitt takes the mark and kicks to touch
1 Gloucester Rugby Gloucester have the first lineout of the match and win it successfully, the ball spills loose from a tackle and Irish have a chance to break.
2 Gloucester Rugby
2 London Irish Ojo breaks two tackles as Irish move into the 22 with a strong run from Roche, the move breaks down as Magne drops the greasy ball.
3 Gloucester Rugby Gloucester have their first scrum, and Irish win a penalty Collazo called for collapsing the scrum
4 London Irish
Penalty kick - B Everitt
Everitt opens the scoring with a 20m from in front of the posts
6 London Irish Irish have their first lineout 30m from their own line, they win it and drive 10m, Hodgson kicks up field, and Flutey collects the high ball, Ojo receives a pass and is pushed into touch
8 Gloucester Rugby Referee calls Gloucester offside after a clever chip into the 22 by Everitt
9 London Irish
Penalty kick - B Everitt
He slots over a 25m kick from the left hand side
10 Gloucester Rugby Gloucester have a scrum after Armitage knocks on, they earn a free kick and try to spread it wide.
11 Gloucester Rugby
Try - M Foster
Tindall makes a clever grubber kick through, and the pace of Foster means he outstripped the Irish defence, he kicks on and dives on the bouncing ball to score
12 Gloucester Rugby
Conversion - R Lamb
He makes the tricky kick from the left hand touchline
13 Gloucester Rugby Gloucester's lineout is working well, Davies makes good ground up to half way but Tindall's kick for territory goes beyond the dead ball line
15 Gloucester Rugby
Penalty kick - R Lamb
Lamb keeps the scoreboard ticking over
16 London Irish Armitage slices a kick to touch, and Gloucester have a lineout 30m out.
19 Gloucester Rugby The sides exchange kicks, it's a good flowing game at the moment with both sides trying to run the ball
20 London Irish Magne chips towards the Gloucester tryline, the ball bounces off the post into the try area, and Tindall grounds the ball, but the ref pulls play back to the 22 after a knock on by Richards.
21 London Irish London Irish have scrum, and eventually win a penalty as Gloucester infringe at a ruck. Everitt kicks to the corner
22 London Irish Gloucester win the lineout, but knock on. Irish have a scrum 5 m out
23 Gloucester Rugby Gloucester do well, and Richards clears to almost halfway
25 London Irish Both sides are struggling to hold onto the ball because of the wet conditions, this passage of play ends with Catt pushed out of bounds near his try line as he attempts to gather a well weighted grubber
27 Gloucester Rugby
Try - A Hazell
Gloucester win the lineout and very quickly drive forward. Hazell does his job well and dives over
27 Gloucester Rugby Lamb's kick from the far right touchline drifts wide
30 London Irish
Try - D Armitage
A terrific crossfield kick from Everitt and Armitage is on hand to beat two defenders and catch it in the endzone and get Irish back into the match
31 London Irish
Conversion - B Everitt
Another composed kick from the Irish fly-half
33 Gloucester Rugby
Penalty kick - R Lamb
Casey is penalised for a push in the lineout and Lamb punishes him with a three pointer
35 Gloucester Rugby Lamb makes a huge territory gaining kick, from deep into his own half, his kick beats Armitage and goes out just 5 metres from Irish's line
36 London Irish Irish's lineout works well, and Everitt clears
38 London Irish
38 Gloucester Rugby Irish penalised for coming in from the side of a ruck, and Lamb kicks to the Irish 10m line, they win the following lineout and start a rolling maul. Tindall and Lamb combine to push their side toward the 22
39 London Irish Flutey reads Lambs chip perfectly, he passes to Everitt who clears, Gloucester fail to find touch and Ojo attempts to run the ball out from his 22, but Gloucester's drift defence does its job
Second half timeline
41 London Irish
Substitution - D Paice on for N Hatley
42 London Irish Irish come firing out of the second half blocks but are penalised at a ruck 5m from Gloucester's try line. Lamb clears
43 London Irish A fabulous gain breaking run from Flutey sees him power in to the 22, but he has no support. Irish retain possession and go through the phases
44 London Irish
Drop kick - B Everitt
Everitt shows his skills with a 30 kick from the left hand side
46 Gloucester Rugby Both sides exchange kicks in an effort to gain territory, the play breaks down as Lamb is injured after a huge tackle from Hodgson
46 Gloucester Rugby
Substitution - L Mercier on for R Lamb
47 Gloucester Rugby
Substitution - G Powell on for J Forster
47 London Irish
Yellow card - J Leguizamon
49 Gloucester Rugby The tension is rising in The Stoop, with both sides making mistakes
51 Gloucester Rugby
Penalty kick - L Mercier
Mercier announces his arrival to the match with a three pointer
54 London Irish Irish have the bit between their teeth, and the forwards drive to the 22
55 Gloucester Rugby Thirbly catches a cross kick by Everitt, and tries to run the ball from his own tryline, his kick is poor and Irish come straight back at Gloucester
56 London Irish Irish have lineout 10m out, Magne catches and drives towards the line.. the ball is recycled and they spread it across the park, again the Gloucester defence holds, butr Tindall strays offside
57 London Irish
Penalty kick - B Everitt
Everitt cuts the gap to just two points
59 Gloucester Rugby
Penalty kick - L Mercier
The dead-eyed French man makes no mistake
61 London Irish
Substitution - M Collins on for R Skuse
62 Gloucester Rugby Gloucester enjoying a period of attacking play, they spread the ball wide, but Foster's attempted miss pass is too strong for Thirlby and Irish have a lineout on their on 22 and a chance to clear through Catt
64 Gloucester Rugby
Try - J Simpson-Daniel
Simpson Daniel collects a loose pass and races 60 metres to score under the posts
65 Gloucester Rugby
Conversion - L Mercier
Mercier stretches the lead to 12 points
67 London Irish Irish throw everything forward and earn a penalty on the 22 as Gloucester peanalised at ruck. Flutey kicks for the corner, and after a scrappy lineout, they drive toward the line, and are camped on the tryline
70 London Irish Irish attack time and time again, but can't get back the dogged defence. They think it's a try, but referee Nigel Whitehouse says he's going to consult the TMO
71 London Irish The TMO cannot see if the ball was grounded, so calls play back for a penalty. Again, Irish drive toward the line
71 London Irish
Try - O Magne
Magne grounds the ball as wave after wave of Irish attack finally pays off
72 London Irish
Conversion - B Everitt
Irish move to within five points of Gloucester
74 London Irish
Substitution - D Danaher on for O Magne
75 London Irish Tindall penalised at a ruck, and Everitt kicks towards the corner
76 London Irish Irish win the lineout through Kennedy, the maul is formed and it's a real battle for each and every yard
77 London Irish Irish are just 3 meters out, attacking with great effort, they are so close from the Gloucester line
78 London Irish Irish think they have scored, but the ref says he can't see it! The TMO is called into action again. Incredible tension and drama as the clock ticks down.
78 London Irish
78 London Irish
Try - R Russell
The try is given, and the scores are level, what an amazing climax
79 London Irish Barry Everitt has a chance to win the match, but he misses the kick from the far touchline, his 100 per cent record is smashed. Extra time is looming
80 Gloucester Rugby Richards aims a 40m drop goal, but it fades wide with the wind
80 London Irish
80 Gloucester Rugby Mercier kicks to touch, its the end of normal time, and the scores are level. What a match!
80 Gloucester Rugby
Substitution - A Eustace on for J Pendlebury
80 Gloucester Rugby
Substitution - L Narraway on for A Hazell
80 London Irish
Substitution - P Murphy on for M Collins
80 +1 Gloucester Rugby
Substitution - O Azam on for P Collazo
80 +1 London Irish
Substitution - G Tiesi on for R Flutey
80 +2 London Irish Irish start the extra time period as they ended the match - in all out attack. Catt chips ahead and Richards can only ground the ball in his dead ball area. The ref calls uncontested scrums ad the effects of battle start to show
80 +2 Gloucester Rugby
Substitution - J Bailey on for R Thirlby
80 +3 London Irish Irish's pack push toward the line, Gloucester are defending desperately. Irish have a penalty, and Catt decides to retain possession with another scrum
80 +4 Gloucester Rugby Somehow, Gloucester survive and Mercier earns 50m of territory with a fine clearing kick
80 +6 London Irish Irish spending time in the Gloucester 22, and get their reward when a defender infringes at ruck. This time, Catt points to the posts
80 +7 Gloucester Rugby Mercier kicks directly into touch, and Irish have a scrum put in on halfway
80 +7 London Irish
Penalty kick - B Everitt
Irish move ahead thanks to Everitt's effort
80 +8 London Irish By contrast, Catt judges his kick perfectly, and Irish have good field position
80 +10 London Irish Everitt pumps the ball into the corner, Gloucester are on the ropes
80 +10 London Irish
Substitution - B Willis on for P Hodgson
80 +11 Gloucester Rugby The second period gets underway, and this time its Gloucester who come out fighting
80 +11 Gloucester Rugby
Try - J Forrester
The TMO awards a try for Forrester after the Gloucester player broke loose with a great grubber and a pacy run to score
80 +12 Gloucester Rugby A nercy Mercier misses a kick he would normally score, meaning Irish are just one score behind
80 +13 London Irish What a match, the pace is relentless, with both sides running the ball whenever possible. Irish have a throw on the Gloucester 10m line
80 +14 London Irish Everitt attempts a 45 m drop goal, it's only inches wide
80 +15 London Irish Gloucester are dead on their feet, and are called offside at a ruck, Everitt has a tough kick, nearly 45 m out to win the match
80 +15 London Irish Everitt's kick is woefully short, as fatigue sets in
80 +18 Gloucester Rugby Only moments remain, Mercier puts a good territory gaining kick to touch.
80 +19 London Irish Irish have the ball at halfway, they drive on, Catt spreads it wide, but he can't find space. The clock is ticking down, and Irish fans look nervous
80 +19 Gloucester Rugby Hazell is the Fedex man-of-the-match
80 +20 Gloucester Rugby The ref blows his whistle, Gloucester have won the European Challenge Cup, what an amazing match, the crowd are on their feet saluting both sides.
Results so far
Gloucester Rugby
Date Stage Opposition Score
21/5/06 Final London Irish W 36-34
22/4/06 Semi Finals Worcester Warriors W 31-23
1/4/06 Quarter Finals Brive W 46-13
21/1/06 Pool 3 Bayonne W 32-19
14/1/06 Pool 3 Bucuresti W 27-13
17/12/05 Pool 3 Toulon W 66-5
10/12/05 Pool 3 Toulon W 74-3
29/10/05 Pool 3 Bucuresti W 106-3
22/10/05 Pool 3 Bayonne W 26-10
London Irish
Date Stage Opposition Score
21/5/06 Final Gloucester Rugby L 34-36
23/4/06 Semi Finals Newcastle Falcons W 27-22
2/4/06 Quarter Finals Bayonne W 48-5
21/1/06 Pool 2 Section Paloise W 75-12
14/1/06 Pool 2 Rugby Parma W 19-11
17/12/05 Pool 2 SU Agen W 32-24
11/12/05 Pool 2 SU Agen W 29-21
30/10/05 Pool 2 Rugby Parma W 64-0
22/10/05 Pool 2 Section Paloise W 20-13
Related news

Ryan predicts star-studded future for his side
Gloucester boss says his young team are destined for a long and glittering spell at the top...
Gloucester raise the European Challenge Cup
Exiles announce final side
Thirlby starts for Gloucester
Brown targets silverware
Irish aim for excitement
Danaher expecting "fiery" final
Catt honoured by Irish
Gloucester snap up Califano
Exiles chasing European silverware
European Challenge Cup Final Officials Confirmed
Gloucester Ticket Update
Ryan banking on fans support
Twickenham Stoop the Final venue
Previous Challenge Cup meetings
Date Stage Home Score Away
Sun 21st May 06 Final Gloucester Rugby 36 - 34 London Irish
Sat 2nd Nov 96 Pool 4 London Irish 13 - 29 Gloucester
Challenge Cup History
Gloucester Rugby
2005/06 - Champions
2001/02 - Semi Finals
1999/00 - Pool 5
1997/98 - Pool 6
1996/97 - Pool 4
London Irish
2005/06 - Runners up
2004/05 - Round 2
2003/04 - Round 2
2001/02 - Semi Finals
2000/01 - Pool 6
1999/00 - Semi Finals
1997/98 - Pool 3
1996/97 - Pool 4
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