London Welsh 9 (pens Robinson 3),  Gloucester 18 (pens A Thomas 9)

LONDON Welsh played like a side who didn't know how to win as they slipped to a tenth straight defeat of the season at the Kassam Stadium today.

The Exiles were in contention for much of a scrappy clash, but were made to pay for passing up two very kickable penalties.

These happened with Welsh trailing 12-9 and 15-9 and on both occasions, the crucial try was not forthcoming.

You could not fault the Exiles for ambition, but surely this was the time to play pragmatic rugby.

Gloucester captain Aled Thomas obviously thought so, and rubbed salt in Welsh's wounds with his fifth and sixth penalties of a tryless match.

If ever Welsh were to get off the mark, this looked like being the game to do it and it will get much tougher as they return to the Aviva Premiership.

Welsh's selection owed much to injuries and keeping others fresh for the league.

Gloucester made good use of their academy, while wing Charlie Norman and prop James Gibbons were late additions to the side.

Many of these youngsters acquitted themselves well including hooker Luke Cole on his first start, while flanker Dan Thomas had a lively game.

The Exiles got off to a great start, with flanker Pete Browne breaking into the visitors' 22 and forcing a penalty.

Fly half Will Robinson, on his first start of the season, slotted this from near the touchline.

Welsh looked solid enough and earned a couple of scrum penalties, while Robinson was off target with a long-range three-pointer.

Exiles loosehead Shane Cahill and Gloucester tighthead Shaun Knight were sin-binned after repeated scrum infringements.

The visitors were gaining more territory and equalised with a simple penalty from fly half Thomas on 26 minutes. Welsh briefly went down to 13 men with the sin-binning of lock Dean Schofield.

This allowed Thomas to kick a second penalty for 6-3 before Cahill and Knight returned to the fray. Welsh were then handed three points as Robinson landed his second penalty to punish some Gloucester crossing on the edge of their 22.

The half ended with Thomas and Robinson trading penalties - the latter slotting from the halfway line on the whistle.

Welsh, however, were behind within three minutes of the restart.

Having failed to clear the ball from the kick-off, they were the penalised and Thomas made it 12-9 very easily.

It looked like getting worse when Gloucester forced a five-metre scrum, but Welsh turned the ball over.

Thomas came up short with a long-range penalty on 63 minutes, but chances were at a premium.

When Welsh did secure field position, they passed up a kickable penalty and lost the resulting line-out.

A minute later, Thomas took the more pragmatic approach to put Gloucester 15-9 ahead.

Welsh again passed up a simple three points to go for the corner.

They went close with a driving maul, but couldn't get over.

After several phases, Robinson kicked through and the chance was lost.

Thomas compounded Welsh's misery by kicking his sixth penalty from near halfway.

Trailing 18-9 with two minutes to play, there was no way back for the Exiles.

And they were left contemplating a tenth defeat in ten matches.

London Welsh: Awcock (Crane 68), Stegmann, Reynolds, May (capt), Scott, Robinson, Rowley (R Lewis 59), Cahill (Cooper 58), Britton (Morris 58), Gilding (Vea 45), Schofield, Down, P Browne (Liston 51), Vella (Vea 21-31), Pienaar (Corker 68). Rep not used: Ross.

Gloucester: McColl, Monahan, Isaacs, Meakes, Norman (Burns 48), A Thomas (capt), Braley, Gibbons, Cole, Knight (Y Thomas 68), Stooke, Hicks, Ludlow (Y Thomas 21-31), D Thomas, Evans.

Reps not used: Goodrick-Clarke, Spencer, Fuller, Safe, Bassett, Evans.

Referee: R Thomas (Wales).

Man-of-the-match: D Thomas.

Attendance: 2,906.