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Premiership final



606: DEBATE
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Gloucester 16-44 Leicester

By Tom Fordyce

Final whistle: Gloucester 16-44 Leicester
It's all over - Leicester are English champions. That was about as dominant a win as you'll ever see. Two trophies down for Leicester, one to go...

78 mins: Gloucester 16-44 Leicester
There it is - another dominant forward push allows Moody to crash over. It's an official thumping - after two Premiership final heartbreakers on the bounce, Leicester are seconds away from the domestic double.

76 mins: 17-year-old Ben Youngs, fresh-faced and fresh on for Leicester, urges his forwards on for one final push.

74 mins: Gutsy pressure from Gloucester, but it's like trying to break through a sea wall. Wave after wave of attempts wash back off the Tigers' defence. Varndell almost snags a loose pass for a pitch-length breakaway, but can't quite hang on.

71 mins: That sums up Gloucester's day - Nieto, with the line at his mercy, drops a gentle pass and blows a simple try chance.

69 mins: Huge reception for Martin Corry as he prepares to be subbed off. But an injury to Jennings changes the plan - he's off instead.

66 mins: Gloucester 16-39 Leicester
The tiniest of silver linings for Gloucester as Lamb picks up a cross-field kick and just about makes it over in the corner. He's still stony-faced, though - he's not had the final he wanted.

63 mins: Gloucester 9-39 Leicester
Now it's Shane Jennings's turn - he battles over from the rolling maul for yet another Leicester try. Very Neil Back-esque, that one. Goode misses the conversion, but does it matter?

61 mins: Rambini takes a bow, and Tom Varndell comes on in his place. Not much of a respite, to be fair.

58 mins: Andy Hazell, wonderful all season, spills a simple popped past from new-man Lawson. Nothing's going right for the West country crew.

56 mins: More errors from Gloucester - they finally get the ball drifting along the backs, only for the final pass to fall behind Simpson-Daniel. Unhappy times for the boys. Hey - at least the sun's come out.

52 mins: Peter Richards trudges off - that's his final bow in a Gloucester shirt. Rory Lawson comes on instead - as we all know, he's the grandson of Bill McLaren. So I'm told.

51 mins: Gloucester 9-34 Leicester
It's Tuilagi again, taking the ball as first receiver from the scrum and driving straight through the weak-armed Lamb for his second try.

48 mins: No joy at all for Gloucester's much-vaunted runners - Leicester aren't giving them a sniff of possession. The Tigers are dominating the set-pieces too.

44 mins: Gloucester 9-27 Leicester
Disaster for Gloucester, joy for the Tigers - another rampaging forward drive frees Goode, and he slips three tackles to scoot over unopposed in the left-hand corner. This could be a long half for Gloucester.

41 mins: Gloucester 9-22 Leicester
Gloucester come out fighting as Richards breaks down the middle and feeds Brown. Solid forward pressure forces Leicester into the error and Walker pops the penalty over.

Half-time: Gloucester 6-22 Leicester
I don't want to send you off to do something else with your afternoon, but this game looks as good as over - Leicester's forward power is just too much for the injury-hit Cherry and Whites. The treble inches closer and closer...

39 mins: Gloucester 6-22 Leicester
But he can't do anything this time - Rabeni blasts through two tackles, slips the ball to Martin Corry and jumps for joy as his skipper crashes over. Goode helps himself to the extras, and Leicester are in complete control.

38 mins: Hipkiss drives at the line and slides over - only for Walker to get his arms under the ball and somehow hold it up.

37 mins: Leicester are on the rampage - they're camped out on the Gloucester line and can sniff another try.

34 mins: Gloucester 6-15 Leicester
It's almost the same again - Tuilagi breaks down the left again. This time he's hauled down, but Gloucester are in disarray and are caught offside. Goode, off-colour with the boot so far, plants over an easy pen.

32 mins: Gloucester 6-12 Leicester
Geordan Murphy breaks on the Gloucester right, draws the cover and releases Tuilagi. He's still 40m out, but he turns on the afterburners, creams past Simpson-Daniel and dives over joyously. Great try.

29 mins: Corry smashes towards the line after brutal work from the Leicester forwards, but a steamroller tackle knocks the ball from his grasp. But bad news for Gloucester - skipper Peter Buxton is off the pitch with what looks like a fractured thumb.

27 mins: Goode has the chance to restore the four point lead with a three-pointer from out on the left, but he pushes it to the right. Still very tough to play open rugby in these conditions - it's an old-school grindfest at the mo.

24 mins: Gloucester 6-7 Leicester
Leicester fail to release in the ruck, the ref's seen enough and Gloucester have a pen 30m out and back in front. Walker pops it over with ease.

23 mins: From BBC Sport's James Standley at Twickenham:"All the photographers are behind the Gloucester line, which tells you who's in charge of this game."

20 mins: Balshaw spills a cloudbuster of a punt from Murphy and has to sprint back behind his own line to gather the ball. With Leicester's backs galloping towards him, he off-loads to Lamb and watches as his team-mate's kick only just makes touch.

17 mins: Murky midfield meanderings as the ball disappears up the jumpers and under a pile or gargantuan limbs.

From Marilyn Butt, via email: "Just had a text from my son, at Twickenham. He got 2 tickets at the last minute and elected to take his girlfriend (a Leicester supporter, spit spit) instead of me! He will have to think carefully about his next visit home."

13 mins: Lamb breaks the Leicester line 40m out on the right and is hauled down into the glistening turf. From the resultant ruck Julian White gets too keen against Richards and is whistled offside, but Walker pushes the penalty wide of the posts.

9 mins: Gloucester 3-7 Leicester
Leicester batter the line with three barrelling forward surges. Frank Murphy picks up the ball from the ruck and dives at the line - it looks like he's spilt the ball, but the video ref gives it after an age. Hugely controversial decision - at best, Murphy touched that down with his face. Goode drives over the extra points.

7 mins: Back come Leicester through a powerful run from Hipkiss, who's floored with an absolute cruncher from Walker. You wouldn't want a slice of that pie.

4 mins: Glouc 3-0 Leic
Andy Goode misses his kick to touch and Richards launches a counter-attack down the wing. Leicester can't deal with it and concede the pen - which Willie Walker strokes over from 35m out. First blood to the Cherry and Whites.

2 mins: Big Gloucs pressure on the Tigers' line early on, and a scrum five metres out gives them a great base to attack - only for Ryan Lamb to spill a pass in the torrential rain.

1427: Here we go then - the rain's still lashing it down at Twickers, and you've got to think that everything that's happened so far today makes Leicester red-hot favourites. What can Gloucester do about it?

From Paul in Surrey via email: "So will it be Red Leicester or Double Gloucester? The ultimate grand battle of the cheeses..."

1418: Another weather update from BBC Sport's James Standley at Twickenham: "There has just been a huge cloudburst. The heavens opened and the ball will be very greasy and it is still raining heavily now."

1407: "There is some light drizzle at a Twickenham Stadium that is rapidly filling up. It is quite blustery outside but completely still inside the bowl. The general view is that without Bortolami, Gloucester's chances are very slim indeed."
BBC Sport's James Standley

1405: Gloucester head coach Dean Ryan is interviewed on the Twickenham pitch and looks his normal unflustered self, despite losing his skipper so soon before kick-off.

"We felt Marco would make it," said Ryan. "It was a big call but he felt he would not do the team justice. He would have loved to have led the team out."

1358: Right troops, here we go for the climax to the Premiership season and there are plenty of questions ahead of the big game. Can Leicester claim their first league title since 2002, keeping alive their hopes of an historic treble, or will they lose their third Premiership final on the bounce?
As for Gloucester, will their young guns have enough zip about them to bring the Premiership crown to Kingsholm for the first time or will the loss of the inspirational Bortolami be too much of a burden?

Let us know what you think.

"My journey to ground took in Waterloo station where I saw plenty of Leicester and Gloucester fans milling about, stocking up on pre-match sausage rolls and pies."
BBC Sport's James Standley

1345: The Premiership reaches its conclusion today with the top two in the table, Gloucester and Leicester, meeting in the final at Twickenham.

Gloucester suffered a huge blow two hours before the game when their captain Marco Bortolami was ruled out of the game after failing to recover from a knee injury.

Are you on your way to game, out and about, or following the action through our coverage?

How do you think it will go and, if you are there, what is the atmosphere like and how confident are your team's fans. Why not text or E-Mail us with your views?



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