Rugby Union

Halaifonua sent off as Wasps sting sorry Gloucester

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Gloucester had wing David Halaifonua sent off as they crumpled to a 23-3 defeat against Wasps in a one-sided Aviva Premiership clash at the Ricoh Arena.

The Tongan was dismissed in the 46th minute as he went in high and slightly late on Bradley Davies, who received attention before walking off and was able to return after a medical assessment.

Wasps prop Lorenzo Cittadini was also given his marching orders in the 74th minute for punching in a ruck but the dismissals did not have a major effect on the result.

A poor Gloucester side were already trailing 16-0 when Halaifonua departed. The visitors had made numerous errors and gifted Wasps that decisive lead.

Wasps scored two tries: one a penalty award, the other from Christian Wade. Ruaridh Jackson converted both, with some splendid long-distance kicking from Elliot Daly resulting in three successful penalties.

Greig Laidlaw's penalty was Gloucester's sole contribution to the scoreboard.

Wasps included All Black Charles Piutau at full-back to make his debut for the club. Jackson came in for the suspended Jimmy Gopperth to partner Joe Simpson at half-back. Matt Mullan was absent with a hamstring injury so Simon McIntyre replaced him at prop, with Davies starting for the first time since the World Cup.

Gloucester selected Billy Burns at fly-half with James Hook switching to centre. Laidlaw was back from World Cup duties to partner Burns with Elliott Stooke recalled in the second row for Sione Kalamafoni to switch to the flank in place of Ross Moriarty.

Gloucester had most of the early possession but the home side had the first chance for points. On halfway, Davies was impeded at a line-out, which allowed Daly to step up and fire over the penalty to give his side a 10th-minute lead.

After 19 minutes, Wasps extended their advantage by scoring a splendid try. Gloucester hoisted an up-and-under but the home side gained possession for Piutau and Daly to counter-attack, brilliantly sending Wade in under the posts. Jackson's conversion made it 10-0 to the hosts at the end of the first quarter.

When Gloucester conceded a scrum penalty on halfway, Daly resumed kicking duties to succeed with another superb effort as the visitors continued to make elementary errors.

Ben Morgan threw a pass to Halaifonua when the wing was not looking, Jonny May allowed the ball to slip from his hands when under no pressure, and Charlie Sharples had a kick charged down when he had ample time to clear.

Daly made them pay with his third penalty so Wasps led 16-0 at the interval after a half in which Gloucester had enjoyed the majority of the possession but had done nothing with it.

Within four minutes of the restart, Daly surprisingly missed his easiest kick before Gloucester suffered a huge blow when Halaifonua was sent off.

Laidlaw got Gloucester on the scoreboard with a penalty but Wasps sealed victory when they were awarded a penalty try which Jackson converted.

Gloucester replaced Burns with Henry Purdy, with Hook switching to fly-half, and the 14 men played with more spirit than they had with the full complement of players.

They should have been awarded a penalty try when Wasps were deliberately offside at a scrum before the home side took off some of their star performers in Simpson, Joe Launchbury and Nathan Hughes.

With six minutes remaining, Cittadini was sent off but despite Gloucester dominating the final quarter, they could not get over the try line.

Rugby Union

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