Match Centre: Challenge Cup: Gloucester 28-17 Clermont Auvergne

Jonny May scored the opening try for Gloucester
Jonny May scored the opening try for Gloucester

Gloucester 28-17 Clermont Auvergne, Pool 3, Kingsholm

Santiago Socino starred with a double as Gloucester managed to hold off Clermont Auvergne with a 28-17 win in the second round of the European Challenge Cup at Kingsholm on Friday.

This is second win for Gloucester in as many games as they are at the top of Pool 3 while Clermont are at fourth place.

Jules Plisson started the proceedings with an early penalty goal in front of the posts before Zach Mercer on his return from injury offloaded to Lewis Ludlow, who in turn sent Jonny May over the line in the 16th minute but Santiago Carreras missed out on the conversion.

Clermont seized the lead back as Jack Clement's offload went straight to the arms of Baptiste Jauneau, who overcame a tackle from Carreras to dot down. Plisson this time kicked the conversion making it 5-10.

The Cherry and Whites had a stronger finish to the first half as Santi Socino crashed from close range and Carreras kicked both the conversions and a penalty goal to ensure they headed into the break with a 22-10 lead.

Gloucester were the quickest to get off the block in the second half as Carreras slotted an early three pointer before a strong line out resulted in Pita-Gus Sowakula dotting down at the back of a driving maul and Belleau's conversion made it an eight point game.

Nevertheless, Clerment did not get the final push in the closing stage and instead Carreras kicked the final points in the game to complete a thrilling win for Gloucester.

Team line up:

Gloucester: Rees-Zammit; May, Harris, Llewellyn, Thorley; Carreras, Varney; Elrington, Socino, Balmain, Clarke, Alemanno, Clement, Ludlow, Mercer.

Reserves: McGuigan, Ford-Robinson, Gotovtsev, Jordan, Donnell, Chapman, Atkinson, Evans.

Clermont Auvergne: Newsome; Delguy, Fouyssac, Darricarrere, Roziere; Plisson, Jauneau; Bibi Biziwu, Beheregaray, Slimani, Lanen, Lavanini, Sowakula, Kremer, Lee.

Reserves: Fourcade, Falgoux, Kiteau, Simmons, Tixeront, Bezy, Belleau, Moala.