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Page last updated at 20:39 GMT, Friday, 9 October 2009 21:39 UK

Gloucester 19-17 Dragons

Gloucester (7) 19
Tries: Qera Cons: Robinson Pens: Robinson 4
Dragons (14) 17
Tries: Arlidge, Bearman Con: Arlidge 2 Pen: Arlidge

Robinson kicked 14 of Gloucester's points against the Dragons
Robinson kicked 14 of Gloucester's points against the Dragons

Fly-half Nicky Robinson inspired Gloucester to a narrow victory over the Newport Gwent Dragons in their Heineken Cup opener at Kingsholm.

The Welshman converted a 25th-minute score from flanker Akapusi Qera.

But Dragons hit back with tries from James Arlidge and Joe Bearman to lead 14-7 at half-time, in sight of a first Heineken win over English opposition.

Arlidge added a second-half penalty for the Dragons but Robinson landed four of his own as the hosts claimed victory.

Gloucester went into their Heineken Cup opener after a mixed start to the Guinness Premiership while the Dragons have looked promising in the Magners League.

But it was the home side who enjoyed more of the pressure in a scrappy opening period and came close to claiming the first try on 20 minutes.

Back-rower Qera made a great run down the left but he was held up well near the line and when the ball fell loose, Aled Brew was able to kick to safety.


But Gloucester did go over four minutes later when wing Lesley Vainikolo burst through before offloading to centre Tim Molenaar who found Qera on the overlap to score in the corner. Robinson converted.

That spurred on the Dragons, who immediately went on the attack.

They thought they had managed a quick reply through Luke Charteris, but the lock's effort was ruled out by the video referee for not grounding the ball.

It did not matter though as from the resulting scrum, fly-half Arlidge went under the posts for his first Heineken Cup try, before converting himself.

Joe Bearman puts the Dragons ahead with their second try
Joe Bearman puts the Dragons ahead with their second try

And within five minutes, the visitors got their second try when Wayne Evans set up number eight Bearman to go over, with Arlidge converting to give the Dragons a 14-7 half-time lead.

Gloucester showed more urgency on the ball after the restart and Robinson was able to reduce the deficit to one point with two quick penalties.

After 54 minutes, the former Cardiff Blues outside-half put the home side ahead with his third penalty of the half after Aled Brew was caught offside.

But after doing the hard work of getting themselves back in the game, the home side were undone within minutes.

They thought they had escaped when Arlidge's long-range penalty hit the post, but he made amends moments later after a Rory Lawson error to edge the Dragons back in front at 17-16.

Gloucester could have been back in front with 15 minutes to go when the Dragons went in from the side, only for Robinson's luck to run out when he sent his penalty wide.

But they did not give up and piled on the pressure in the closing stages, eventually winning a penalty for an offside and Robinson made no mistake this time to land the winning kick.

Dragons coach Paul Turner:
"That was a Gloucester side that was there to be beaten and we didn't quite have enough.

"At half-time we were in a good position but we lost both props at half-time.

"We lost the kicking game and lost the scraps in the contest. I think Nicky [Robinson] did that for them in the second half."

Gloucester boss Bryan Redpath:
"I have been very critical during the past two or three weeks.

"We've got to keep plugging away and hope that we get some continuity in our game. You have just got to dig in.

"We dug in tonight, and we can take some credit for that. We have won our last two games without being pretty."

Gloucester: Voyce, Sharples, Simpson-Daniel, Molenaar, Vainikolo, Robinson, R. Lawson, Delve, Qera, Strokosch, Brown, Attwood, Somerville, S. Lawson, Dickinson.
Replacements: May for Sharples (72), Lewis for R. Lawson (67), Hazell for Delve (71), James for Brown (23), Doran-Jones for Somerville (71), Capdevielle for Dickinson (58).
Not Used: Dawidiuk, Burns.

Dragons: Tovey, Brew, Riley, Smith, Fussell, Arlidge, W. Evans, Bearman, G. Thomas, Lydiate, Charteris, Sidoli, Hall, S. Jones, McKenzie.
Replacements: M. Thomas for Tovey (52), Connor for Arlidge (75), Lee for W. Evans (69), MacDonald for Lydiate (64), Gustafson for Hall (40), Bracken for McKenzie (40).
Not Used: Goodfield, L. Evans.

Att: 11,846

Ref: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland).

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see also
Heineken Cup group-by-group guide
08 Oct 09 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup 2009/10
22 Dec 09 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup tables
09 Aug 06 |  Tables
European rugby archive
16 Aug 06 |  Rugby Union
Coming up next on Scrum V...
03 Nov 08 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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