Young Gloucester side wins thriller against Fiji

Koree BrittonA sensational second-half display helped Gloucester to a narrow 31-29 win over Fiji at Kingsholm yesterday in a very entertaining game.
The Cherry and Whites were trailing 18-0 after half an hour as Fiji were playing the running rugby they are famous for but a forward-inspired second half performance and a late try from hooker Koree Britton clinched it.
The home side came back to 24-29 and just over ten minutes to go when Britton was at the end of a well-worked catch and drive to score the winning try.
The Flying Fijians lived up to their nickname showing off their renowned skills in attack to score tries creating mismatch with their big runners out wide against Gloucester’s smaller players.
But in the second half, the home side finally got their hands on the ball and took it to them up front for a gritty comeback.
Hooker Tuapati Talemaitoga and wing Timoci Matanavou made it 18-0 for the Islanders but the Cherry and Whites got on the scoreboard just before the break.
Openside Matt Cox went over from close range and Dan Robson’s conversion and penalty sent Gloucester into half time trailing only 18-10.
The visitors started the second half on the front foot though and Watisoni Votu, who is still waiting for his visa approval in order to join Exeter, collected a perfectly weighted cross-field kick to score in the left corner and take the Fijians’ lead to 23-10.
But from then, Gloucester took the game up front and, following repeated infringement at  the scrum and a yellow card to replacement prop Penijamni Makutu, referee JP Doyle had no other alternative but to reward the Cherry and Whites with a penalty try for their efforts.
Jonetani Ralulu added a penalty to extend the lead but the home side made it a two-point game when they were awarded another penalty try 15 minutes from time.
Ralulu’s fourth penalty of the game made it 24-29 soon after but the Cherry and Whites weren’t going to be denied from their sensational comeback.
Trailing by five points, Robson decided to go for the corner and Britton’s effort sealed the win with ten minutes to go.
For Gloucester
Tries:, Cox, penalty 2, Britton
Conversions: Robson 4
Penalty: Robson
For Fiji
Tries: Talemaitoga, Matanavou, Votu
Conversions: Ralulu
Penalties: Ralulu 4
Sin bins: Makutu, Naqusa
Gloucester: M. Thomas; Reynolds, Locke, Molenaar, Clark; Robson, Lewis; Y. Thomas, Britton, Chistolini; Graulich, Casson; Moriarty, Cox, Buxton (capt.).
Replacements: D’Apice, Murphy, Heard, King, Sparks, Field, Boulton.
Fiji: Talebula; Matanavou, Wara, Matavesi, Votu; Ralulu, Bola; Samoca, Talemaitoga, Saulo; Ratuniyarama, Kalou; Domolailai, Volau, Naqusa.
Replacements: Naureure, Manu, Makutu, Naikatini, Ratuva, Matawalu, Fatiaki, Natoga.
Referee: JP Doyle
Attendance: 8,147

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