London ball

Rampager Ruan Ackermann leads Gloucester to hard-fought win over London Irish

Gloucester won four in a row on Friday night as they battled play-off rivals London Irish 24-7 in bitterly cold Kingsholm.

The Cherry and Whites, led by the superb Ruan Ackermann, battled a resilient London Irish side to secure a ninth Premiership victory of the season and for at least one night put them second in the table behind Leicester Tigers .

A first-half try from Ackermann put the hosts ahead at the break, although they were held over the line twice.

Ollie Thorley’s scoring put the hosts further ahead, before a try from visiting number eight Olly Cracknell kept them in touch in the second half.

Man of the match Ackermann’s second try late in the game secured a vital win in Gloucester’s play-off race.

In truth, the scoreline was flattering, as Gloucester had their backs against the wall for long stretches.

The hosts were put under immediate pressure by the Irish, who looked set to score within 10 minutes when a driving maul headed for the line, only to be denied by a final Cherries defense who held the ball back.

The response from the hosts was almost instantaneous.

Georgian Giorgi Kveseladze made an instant impact on his first Premiership start to the season soon after by earning a crucial turnover in the Irish half of London, and from the resulting line-up it is the Premiership Player of the Month named Ackermann who powered up short term. to put the hosts ahead 7-0 on the quarter hour.

George Skivington’s side have been a force to be reckoned with throughout the free-kick so far this season, and the Cherry and Whites have continued that theme by securing early scrum dominance and forcing several penalties to their opponents.

The London Irish survived several onslaughts from the Gloucester attacking pack on their own line and showed excellent defense against the maul on more than one occasion to stop the Gloucester pack from crashing, before the Irish clear their lines as Matias Alemanno was held back on the line when he looked set to score.

The hosts had strikers Val Rapava-Ruskin and Jack Clement to thank as their hard work in defense continued to stifle any threat from the visitors.

It took until the 37th minute for the game to come to life when the London Irish burst from inside their own 22 thanks to full-back James Stokes running clear before showing exceptional offloading skills to finding team-mate Juan Martin-Gonzalez who was stopped five yards after a superb covering tackle from skipper Lewis Ludlow.

Moments later, Kingsholm erupted as scrum-half Charlie Chapman appeared to have scored a sensational individual try.

The 23-year-old showed some individual talent to run free from the base of a ruck, produce a sublime chip and chase, before gathering and diving towards the line, but the London Irish halfback Paddy Jackson was quickest to react getting under Chapman before he could put the ball on the ground with one of the best tackles of the season which kept the score 7-0 as the teams entered the break.

However, it didn’t take long for the home side to get on the scoreboard in the second half. Barely seven minutes passed before the hosts crossed the line after the break when winger Ollie Thorley ran into the corner after a wonderfully executed first-phase move from the Gloucester back line sent the flyer for his team’s second try of the evening.

Billy Twelvetrees’ back pass put Kyle Moyle in space to throw a long pass to his fellow England international.

Lloyd Evans’ precise sideline conversion extended the lead to 14 points.



Gloucester Rugby’s Santiago Socino drills through against London Irish

That deficit was halved within minutes, however, as the Irish fought back directly when Olly Cracknell ducked in from close range after intense pressure inside Gloucester 22.

The Cherry and Whites’ usually dominant driving maul began to stutter as the London Irish continued to suppress the hosts’ biggest weapon and keep them at bay.

Replacement hooker Santiago Socino had the next big say as his vital turnover just yards from the Gloucester line kept their one-score lead intact.

It was Socino who was heavily involved in the games next big moment, as the hooker swung away from a maul advancing deep into exiles territory, only to lose possession of the ball a yard from the line .

Gloucester came back instantly as barn Jack Clement burst through two tackles and charged into the center of the field to keep the pressure on the visitors.

The pressure finally came on as referee Karl Dickson penalized the opposing team for a creeping offside, leaving substitute fly-half Adam Hastings the simple job of knocking the ball in front to make it 17- 7 with just five minutes on the clock.

Fittingly, it was Gloucester’s raging number eight Ackermann, who enjoyed his finest season in a Gloucester shirt, who had the last laugh when he crashed into the corner with the final game of the game to seal a gritty 24-7 victory.

His third man of the match in his last six games shows just how influential the talisman, alongside his backyard partners, will be as Gloucester look to head into the play-offs at the end of the season.



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Gloucester Rugby: 15. Kyle Moyle, 14. Santiago Carreras, 13. Giorgi Kveseladze, 12. Billy Twelvetrees, 11. Ollie Thorley, 10. Lloyd Evans, 9. Charlie Chapman; 1. Val Rapava-Ruskin, 2. Jack Singleton, 3. Fraser Balmain, 4. Freddie Clarke, 5. Matias Alemanno, 6. Jack Clement, 7. Lewis Ludlow (c), 8. Ruan Ackermann

Replacements: 16. Santiago Socino, 17. Harry Elrington, 18. Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19. Andrew Davidson, 20. Alex Craig, 21. Ben Meehan, 22. Adam Hastings, 23. Tom Seabrook

London Irish: 15 James Stokes, 14 Kyle Rowe, 13 Lucio Cinti, 12 Benhard van Rensburg, 11 Ben Loader, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Nick Phipps, 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 2 Matt Cornish, 3 Ollie Hoskins, 4 Rob Simmons, 5 Adam Coleman , 6 Matt Rogerson (c), 7 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 8 Olly Cracknell.

Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Chunya Munga, 20 Tom Pearson, 21 Hugh O’Sullivan, 22 Terrence Hepetema, 23 Cillian Redmond.

Arbitrator: Karl Dickson (54th Premiership game).

Assistant referees: Christophe Ridley & Jamie Leahy. TMO: David Rose.

citing officer: Budge Pountney.

Presence: 12,149