Gloucester 46, London Welsh 20

Herald Series: Gloucester’s Billy Twelvetrees is tackled by London Welsh duo Adam Balding and Sonny Parker Gloucester’s Billy Twelvetrees is tackled by London Welsh duo Adam Balding and Sonny Parker

LONDON Welsh were outclassed by Gloucester as they fell to their second straight defeat in the LV= Cup on Saturday.

Ben Morgan showed England what they were missing with a hat-trick of tries in Gloucester's emphatic win over a much-changed Welsh side.

A crowd of almost 10,000 saw Gloucester have the game won by the interval before sloppy play allowed the Exiles to compete more favourably in the second half.

Morgan and Freddie Burns, who were both released from the England squad for the game, were at the heart of the action.

No 8 Morgan claimed his try haul and also impressed with driving runs, while Burns was creative and collected 14 points with the boot.

Gloucester fielded a strong line-up, but suffered a blow in the first minute when Rob Cook was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle.

However, they went ahead when Welsh No 8 Adam Balding was penalised for a high tackle on Mike Tindall and Burns made no mistake with his kick.

After seven minutes Gloucester scored their first try when Shane Monahan crashed over, with Burns converting.

Two penalties from Gordon Ross reduced the Welsh deficit to 10-6 at the end of the first quarter, but soon afterwards a powerful drive from the home pack resulted in a try for Morgan. Burns converted this and added a penalty.

Gloucester declined three kickable penalties in favour of more attacking options and were rewarded with a close-range try from Akapusi Qera.

That occurred immediately after Welsh lock Matt Corker was sin-binned by Tim Wigglesworth as the referee finally lost patience with the visitors’ frequent attempts to kill the ball.

Welsh were further hit when centre Seb Jewell was helped off with a leg injury, and three minutes before the interval Gloucester scored an excellent team try through Morgan following a 70-metre move.

A fourth conversion from Burns made it 34-6 at half-time and the game was already over as a contest.

The opening of the second half saw the hosts camped in Welsh’s 22, but over-elaboration prevented them from extending their advantage.

The visitors gained reward for their improved performance with their first try from Nick Scott which was converted by Ross to make it 34-13.

Burns and Billy Twelvetrees left the action just in time to view replacement Koree Britton scoring the fifth Gloucester try before man-of-the-match Morgan scored his third try five minutes from the end.

Welsh had the final say when a glaring error from Tindall gifted a try to replacement prop James Tideswell.

But Gloucester’s first-half performance was more than enough to send Welsh falling to a second successive defeat, and seemingly out of the competition.

LINE-UPS Gloucester: Cook, Monahan, Tindall, Twelvetrees (Locke 62), Reynolds, Burns (Molenaar 62), Cowan (Lewis 66), Wood (Murphy 51), Edmonds (Britton 51), Harden (Chistolina 62), Savage, James (Graulich HT), Qera (Moriaty HT), Cox, Morgan. London Welsh: Voyce, Caprice, Parker, Jewell (Lewis 36), Scott, Ross (Davies 71), Stephenson (Runciman 55), Bristow (Joly 55), Hafu, Ion (Tideswell HT), Brown, Corker (Spivey 66), Beach, Hills (Bateman 66), Balding (Jackson 66).

Attendance: 9,936.

Referee: T Wigglesworth.

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