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Sunday, 8 December, 2002, 15:04 GMT
Gloucester see off Perpignan
Gloucester's Ed Pearce is stopped in his tracks
Gloucester were made to work hard for their victory
Gloucester 33-16 Perpignan

Gloucester continued their storming start to the Heineken Cup with a commanding display against Perpignan.

French fly-half Ludovic Mercier scored one try and kicked 18 points to lay the foundations for a third straight win in the competition.

And flying winger Marcel Garvey snuffed out any hopes of a comeback by racing over for two second-half scores.

The Cherry and Whites have now won 23 games in a row at Kingsholm and are firm favourites to book a home quarter-final tie.

Match facts
Gloucester 33 (16)
Tries: Mercier, Garvey 2
Cons: Mercier 3
Pens: Mercier 4
Perpignan 16 (3)
Tries: Alvarez Kairelis
Cons: Edmonds
Pens: Edmonds 3

Mercier made sure most of the hard work was done by half-time, scoring all Gloucester's points to give them a 16-3 lead.

He kicked his first penalty on five minutes after an early spell of Perpignan pressure, and doubled the lead after an infringement at a line-out.

The French side's cause was not helped when prop Renard Peillard was sin-binned for failing to bind in the scrum despite an earlier warning.

Gloucester took full advantage by going over for their first try, Mercier jinking through under the posts after a clever dummy.

Perpignan had the chance to kick their first points ten minutes before the break but it went begging as they elected to go for a line-out in the corner.

It was never going to be easy but it was a good home win for us

Gloucester coach Nigel Melville

The French side learned from their mistakes, Australian Manuel Edmonds converting their next penalty before another Mercier kick restored the 13-point lead at half-time.

Perpignan turned up the pressure after the break and almost scored with a sweeping downfield move directly from the restart.

They trimmed the gap to nine points soon after as Edmonds kicked two penalties in the space of a minute.

But Mercier settled Gloucester's nerves with a perfect kick from almost on the halfway line and Andy Gomarsall sent Garvey over in the corner to give them some breathing space.

Lock Rimas Alvarez Kairelis touched down as the Perpignan forwards kept battling right to the end.

But Garvey had the last word when he barged through two tacklers to touch down with a flourish under the posts.

Gloucester: Paul, Garvey, Fanolua, Todd, Delport, Mercier, Gomarsall, Roncero, Azam, Vickery, Pearce, Eustace, Buxton, Forrester, Paramore. Replacements: Stuart-Smith, Catling, Beim, Hazell, Deacon, Irish, Cornwell.

Perpignan: Souverbie, Bomati, Giordani, Couttet, Manas, Edmonds, Loustau, Peillard, Koniekiewicz, Mas, Alvarez Kairelis, Daniell, Le Corvec, Goutta, Murphy. Replacements: Rofes, De Besombes, Porcu, Mallier, Basset, Bellot, Marty.

Referee: Nigel Williams (Wales).

Gloucester's Marcel Garvey
"It was a good win"

Heineken Cup

Parker Pen Cup

Links to more European stories are at the foot of the page.

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