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Gloucester come from 18-0 down to beat Fiji

Wednesday 14 Nov 2012 3:26 p.m.

Fiji had chances to win the thriller (file pic)

Fiji had chances to win the thriller (file pic)

English club Gloucester came from 18-0 down after 33 minutes to beat Fiji 31-29 at Kingsholm Stadium.

Fiji stole a breathtaking first half of running rugby by both sides, but Gloucester kept it tight in the second, earned two penalty tries and didn't grab the lead until 11 minutes to go. Even then, Fiji had chances to win the thriller, but Gloucester hung on.

Fiji, 54-12 losers to England on Saturday, rebounded in style. Tries to hooker Tuapati Talemaitoga and winger Timoci Matanavou helped build an 18-0 lead.

Unable to stay with Fiji in the open, Gloucester changed tactics and was buoyed by a late first-half try to flanker Matt Cox that left the home side only eight points behind at the break.

Fiji scored first after the interval, Jonetani Ralulu's crosskick setting up a try for winger Watisoni Votu, but Gloucester hammered Fiji up front and drew yellow cards to Fiji replacement prop Penijamni Makutu, then No. 8 Nemani Naqusa. Both ended up watching their team concede penalty tries.

Gloucester trailed 26-24 with 16 minutes to go.

Ralulu's fourth penalty made it 29-24, but Gloucester kicked for the corner, drove the lineout and Koree Britton dived over to level. Dan Robson's conversion gave them the lead. Fiji squandered its last chances, a long-range penalty and a five-meter attacking scrum.

Gloucester 31 (Matt Cox, Koree Britton tries; 2 penalty tries; Dan Robson 4 conversions, penalty), Fiji 29 (Tuapati Talemaitaga, Timoci Matanavou, Watisoni Votu tries; Jonetani Ralulu conversion, 4 penalties). HT: 10-18

AP

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