Collins scores twice as Wanderers claim Aviva A League glory

The Wanderers celebrated their A League win at Franklin's Gardens (pictures: Dave Ikin)
The Wanderers celebrated their A League win at Franklin's Gardens (pictures: Dave Ikin)
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The Wanderers produced a huge second-half performance as they secured Aviva A League glory at Franklin’s Gardens on Monday afternoon.

Gloucester had gone in 8-7 up at half-time, but the Cherry and Whites had no answer to the home side’s surge after the break.

Michael Paterson impressed

Michael Paterson impressed

Sam Olver was superb with the boot, kicking 16 points, to add to the first-half try of Rory Hutchinson and the second-half efforts of Ben Nutley and Tom Collins, who scored twice.

The Wanderers walked away with a 36-15 win and the trophy, completing their season with a convincing display.

The opening stages of the final had been nip and tuck, with neither team able to keep the ball in hand long enough to build up pressure.

Gloucester suffered an injury blow, with influential full-back Mat Protheroe forced off after just 12 minutes, but his replacement was to get the game’s first try.

Tom Collins scored twice

Tom Collins scored twice

Carwyn Penny was on hand to finish after a fine break from fly-half Lloyd Evans, who evaded several despairing dives from Wanderers defenders.

Evans missed the conversion, but there was bad news on the injury front for the Wanderers as George Pisi limped off to be replaced by Fraser Strachan.

However, the Wanderers hit back as Strachan found space and offloaded to Hutchinson, who rolled well to finish off the move under the posts.

Olver easily slotted the simple conversion to give the home side the lead, but Evans quickly put Gloucester back in front with a penalty.

The victory meant a lot to the home side

The victory meant a lot to the home side

Evans missed the chance to extend the lead as he fluffed an attempt soon after, but Gloucester had a one-point advantage at half-time.

The Wanderers soon wiped that out in the second half as Olver landed an early penalty, and he quickly added another to make it 13-8.

With their lineout failing to function and their ball handling poor, Gloucester were struggling to get any momentum.

And the Wanderers were now in control, with a third Olver penalty in quick succession making it an eight-point advantage for the men in green, black and gold.

Gloucester’s lineout woes were added to by their scrum work, with the Wanderers hustling them off the ball and pouncing to score.

The impressive Lewis Ludlum was the architect, weaving his way through before spinning and offloading to the onrushing Nutley, who scored.

Olver’s easy conversion made it 23-8 and after Gloucester were dismissed at another scrum, the Wanderers fly-half sent a penalty through the posts to stretch the lead further.

And Olver was soon showing his creative ability as he sent a lovely little grubber kick through for Collins to score.

It had become easy for the Wanderers during the second half as they turned on the style, and another fine effort, started by Alex Mitchell and finished by Collins, rounded it off.

Gloucester did have the final say through an Ollie Thorley try and Evans’ conversion, but it didn’t matter as the Wanderers lifted the trophy in the sun in front of the Tetley’s Stand.

Wanderers: Grayson; Wilson, G Pisi (Strachan 23), Hutchinson (Dingwall 75), Collins; Olver, Kessell (Mitchell 71); E Waller (Ma’afu 61), Clare (Fish 67), Ilnicki (Parkins 75); Paterson, J Onojaife; Nutley, Ludlum, Dickinson (c).

Gloucester: Protheroe (Penny 12); Bogue (Seabrook 63), Thorley, Hudson, Robinson; Evans, Vellacott (Randall 57); Orr (Seville 61), Walker (Haly 67), Knight (McNulty 61); Beckett (c), Batley (Wilson 71); Safe (Kalamafoni 57), Thomas, Clarke.

Referee: Dean Richards

Attendance: 3,645