Sale Sharks travelled down the day before the game and stayed at a hotel in Cheltenham, completing their preparations ahead of the game.
Since the turn of the millennium the teams have met 30 times with Sharks having won 14 times, including a bonus point victory at the Salford City Stadium back in April. That game secured Sharks safety in the Premiership.
Steve Diamond gave starts to five of his pre season signings with two more on the replacements bench.
Nick Macleod kicked off and Sharks applied early pressure when Michael Paterson charged down a clearance kick. Gloucester won a penalty from the line out and a clever Burns kick took them down the field. Sharks were on the wrong end of some early penalty decisions but weathered the storm and won a penalty of their own on 7 mins in front of the posts. Nick Macleod kicked the penalty straight between the sticks to open the scoring 0-3
Sharks touched down through Mark Cueto on 12 minutes with a good flowing move down the right hand side but referee Small referred it to the TMO as he suspected a forward pass. The TMO awarded a try much to the delight of the travelling support and the anger of the Kingsholm faithful. Macleod's conversion attempt sailed wide but Sharks led 0-8.
Gloucester started to build momentum, aided by several penalties and Freddie Burns put the home side on the board on 18 minutes with a penalty 3-8. Straight from the restart Gloucester were awarded another penalty after Sharks took a quick line out and were caught out by Gloucester numbers. Burns 45metre kick sailed wide 3-8
Sale weathered the storm well and after a clever kick through by Arscott, Sharks tackled Sharples in goal an won a 5 metre scrum. The new scrum laws weren't working too well though as every scrum collapsed. Referee Small deemed Henry Thomas had caused the collapse and Gloucester cleared the danger.
Referee Small gave the home side another opportunity to reduce the arrears awarding them a penalty on the half hour 40metres out but Burns' kick fell short 3-8.
34 minutes and referee Small summoned both Henry Thomas and Wood for scrum issues and from the resultant scrum Sharks were awarded a penalty 5 metres in their own half. Up stepped Tom Arscott to kick a magnificent 3 pointer, 3-11.
Three minutes later referee Small became tired of Woods infringements at scrum time and banished him to the sin bin.
From the penalty Tom Arscott booted another 50 plus metre penalty to silence the home crowd 3-14.
Half Time Gloucester 3 Sale Sharks 14
Sale attempted to press home their one man advantage after the restart and won a penalty. Sadly Macleod's attempt fell short 3-14.
Both sides started to open up with Sharples and Arscott both making breaks.
Sharks made their first substitution on 48 minutes when Ross Harrison replaced Eifion Lewis Roberts.
51 minutes and Sale Sharks crossed the line again with a smart move down the left which totally confused the Gloucester defence. Cueto kicked through and Forsyth touched down. Was Forsyth offside? The home supporters thought so, the TMO however didn't and referee Small awarded the try. Arscott lined up the conversion and the Gloucester crowd obviously don't observe silence at kicks. Arscott's kick was wide but Sharks led 3-19.
53 minutes Gloucester went down to 14 men again after Twelvetrees was sin binned for a tip tackle. The referee referred in on to the TMO for help. The eight cameras at non televised game this season are certainly going to add a new dimension to the Aviva Premiership.
57 minutes and Sharks introduced two more replacements as Tommy Taylor and Joe Ford replaced Marc Jones and Nick Macleod.
Gloucester finally broke the Sharks line on the hour when Trinder burst through to touch down. Burns converted 10-19.
Dwayne Peel left the field before the restart and was replaced by Will Cliff. The Gloucester faithful woke from their slumber at this point.
64 minutes Gloucester clawed their way right back with a Burns penalty 13-19. More worrying was that the home side had scored ten points with only 14 men on the field.
The home side stepped up another gear and were awarded another penalty on 67 minutes which Burns converted to make it 16-19.
Sharks pressed forward and substitute Joe Ford dropped a goal to put a bit of daylight between the teams at 16-22.
Kirill Kulemin replaced Johnathan Mills on 70 minutes as Sharks were defending their six point lead.
72 minutes and Sale Sharks received a penalty call from referee Small and Joe Ford lined up the kick. Again some of the ignorant Gloucester fans forgot the games etiquette with wolf whistling and booing. Joe's kick missed the target.
Steve Diamond at this point was prowling the touch line urging his troops on. 30 seconds remaining and Ross Harrison was binned by the referee. Eifion Roberts returned and single handidly pushed Gloucester off the ball to win the scrum and a penalty which ended the game.
Final Score Gloucester 16 Sale Sharks 22
Tom Arscott (off80mins), Phil McKenzie, Andy Forsyth, Jonny Leota, Mark Cueto, Nick Macleod (off 57mins), Dwayne Peel (off 60mins), Eifion Lewis Roberts (off 48mins, back on 80mins), Marc Jones (off 57mins), Henry Thomas (off 69mins), Jonathan Mills (off 70mins), Michael Paterson, Dan Braid (capt.), David Seymour, James Gaskell
Replacements: Tommy Taylor (on for Jones 57 mins), Ross Harrison (on for Roberts 48mins), Vadim Cobilas (on for Thomas 69mins), Kirill Kulemin (on for Mills 70mins), Josh Beaumont, Will Cliff (on for Peel 60mins), Joe Ford (on for Macleod 57mins), Rob Miller
Scoring Sequence (Gloucester first): 0-3, 0-8, 3-8, 3-11, 3-14 (Half Time) 3-19, 8-19, 10-19, 13-16, 16-19, 16-22 (Full Time)
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|Gloucester Rugby Score Card|
|Sale Sharks Score Card|