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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 May 2006, 13:58 GMT 14:58 UK
Gloucester 36-34 London Irish
London Irish's Topsy Ojo is tackled by Mark Foster of Gloucester
Gloucester: (18) 36
Tries: Foster, Hazell, Simpson-Daniel, Forrester
Cons: Lamb, Mercier
Pens: Lamb (2), Mercier (2)
L Irish: (13) 34
Tries: Armitage, Magne, Russell
Cons: Everitt (2)
Pens: Everitt (4)
Drops: Everrit
Gloucester clinched a pulsating European Challenge Cup final with an extra-time victory over London Irish at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday.

James Forrester's 91st-minute try took Gloucester back in front as London Irish's Barry Everitt missed a late drop-goal and penalty.

Gloucester had led by 12 points with 15 minutes left after a James Simpson-Daniel interception try.

But two late Exiles' tries levelled the score at 31-31 to usher in extra time.

London Irish were indebted to forwards Olivier Magne and Robbie Russell, who burrowed their way over from close range inside the last 10 minutes.

But Everitt, who hit 19 points in all, missed his chance for glory when he failed with his conversion attempt of Russell's 78th-minute score.

Gloucester led 18-13 at half-time after tries from wing Mark Foster and flanker Andy Hazell against full-back Delon Armitage's try for Irish.

London Irish began in confident fashion and quickly notched two penalties from Everitt.

But Gloucester stemmed the green tide with a 12th-minute try from Foster, who touched down a Mike Tindall grubber kick.

Barry Everitt
Everitt missed with what could have been the match-winning conversion

Ryan Lamb converted and then added a penalty before Gloucester's Hazell barged over from a line-out.

On the half-hour mark, London Irish responded with their first try when Armitage gathered Everitt's cross-kick to touch down.

Everitt converted but Lamb soon added another penalty for a five-point Gloucester lead at half-time.

London Irish began the second half in similarly ambitious fashion to the first and made the most of their early territory when Everitt poached a drop-goal.

But the Exiles were reeling when Argentine Juan Manuel Leguizamon was yellow-carded for flooring Peter Richards with an outstretched arm on 48 minutes.

Gloucester quickly made the advantage count when Ludovic Mercier - on for the injured Lamb - slotted a third penalty.

Everitt and Mercier then traded kicks before Simpson-Daniel pounced on a loose Gloucester pass and raced half the length of the field.

But the Exiles stepped up their intensity to take the match into extra time and went ahead when Everitt hit a fourth penalty after eight minutes of the first half.

Gloucester hit back in the second period when Forrester was first to his own fly-hack kick-through, though Mercier missed with his conversion.

Everitt then missed with a long-range drop-goal attempt and also failed to convert a penalty shortly afterwards as Gloucester saw out the clock.

  • Gloucester boss Dean Ryan:
    "All of the players will gain experience from this. We watched the Heineken Cup final and we aspire to be there.

    "We couldn't cope with the Heineken Cup finalists now but we can next year.

    "We came out winning today and that'll give us good memories when we get in that environment again."

  • London Irish boss Brian Smith:
    "It was mission impossible to get two tries.

    "We did that and we had a shot for the win. I am immensely proud of the guys.

    "We are a young team and this will make us angry and dangerous next season."

    Gloucester: R Thirlby; J Simpson-Daniel, M Tindall, A Allan, M Foster; R Lamb, P Richards; P Collazo, M Davies, J Forster, J Pendlebury, A Brown, P Buxton (captain), A Hazell, J Forrester.
    Replacements: O Azam, G Powell, A Eustace, L Narraway, H Thomas, L Mercier, J Bailey.

    London Irish: D Armitage; T Ojo, M Catt (captain), R Flutey, S Tagicakibau, B Everitt, P Hodgson, N Hatley, R Russell, R Scuse, B Casey, N Kennedy, K Roche, O Magne, J Leguizamon.
    Replacements: M Collins, D Paice, D Danaher, P Murphy, G Tiesi, B Willis, S Geraghty.

    Referee: Nigel Whitehouse (WRU)


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