Aviva Premiership: Errie Claassens sent off as Gloucester edge Worcester thanks to penalty try
Last Updated: 22/02/13 10:42pm
A penalty try in the final minute gave Gloucester a thrilling 29-23 victory over Worcester at Kingsholm to keep their play-off hopes going strong.
With Worcester one point in front, referee David Rose awarded a penalty try for Gloucester just 20 seconds from the end after deciding to send off Errie Claassens who had tripped flying winger Jonny May as he raced towards a certain try.
A competitive encounter between two local rivals saw the Cherry and Whites hold a narrow 13-10 advantage at half time after both sides had crossed the try line once each.
Joshua Matavesi crossed for Gloucester on 36 minutes despite the Warriors being down to 14 men after Sam Betty had been sent to the sin-bin.
Henry Trinder responded for the hosts, who had another six points from two early penalties by Robert Cook to thank for their lead.
Two more penalties early in the second half from Cook and Ryan Mills gave Gloucester a nine-point advantage, but Andy Goode responded with his second penalty before the visitors then took the lead on the hour mark.
Alex Grove crossed for Worcester after picking off a loose pass and racing 20 metres, and Goode's conversion made it 20-19.
An exciting finale saw Cook put Gloucester back in front but for Danny Gray to restore a one-point advantage for Worcester with a penalty of his own and the score was then 23-22 with just seven minutes left to play.
Just as Gloucester looked like holding on, they suffered late heartbreak with just 20 seconds left to play as May burst away on the left flank.
As he reached the visitors' 22 he attempted to step inside full-back Claasens, who stuck out a leg and felled the flying wing with a trip.
After taking lengthy advice from the TMO, referee Rose pulled out the red card for Claasens for a deliberate trip, and also warded the penalty try, which Cook converted with the last kick of the game.
The controversial ending thrilled the home crowd but a bemused Worcester staff and squad walked off the pitch shaking their heads after losing what looked like being a shock win which would have allayed their relegation fears.