LONDON Irish crashed to their ninth successive Aviva Premiership defeat after a 39-15 loss at Gloucester.

Saturday’s reverse at Kingholm left the Exiles stranded at the bottom of the table and without a win since the opening weekend of the season.

To add to their woes, they are now six points adrift of Worcester Warriors who picked up a losing bonus point against Sale Sharks to follow back-to-back victories over Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints.

Irish travel to Worcester in a fortnight’s time for what will be a critical fixture in the battle for top-flight survival.

Exiles came up against a fired Gloucester on the weekend as the hosts ran in five tries to move up to second in the table behind Exeter Chiefs.

The hosts registered their first of the afternoon on 12 minutes when Lewis Ludlow crossed the whitewash despite the suspicion of a forward pass in the build-up. Billy Twelvetrees added the extras for a 7-0 lead.

Exiles hit back with their first points of the day from the boot of Tommy Bell who slotted a penalty following an infringement at the breakdown after a storming run from Joe Cokanasiga.

Gloucester increased their lead to 13-3 thanks to a couple of Twelvetrees penalties in quick succession near the midway point of the first half.

Irish, though, hauled themselves back with a Petrus Du Plessis try. Bell turned down a shot at the posts and kicked the corner before a driving lineout ended with Du Plessis going over. Bell missed the conversion leaving the visitors 13-8 down.

Yet a major turning point followed with half-time in sight as Billy Burns scooted over for a converted try and then Exiles skipper David Paice was red-carded for an off the ball incident involving Willi Heinz.

Irish, trailing 20-8 and down to 14 men, soon fell even further behind three minutes into the second period when Burns scythed through the visitors’ defence to dot down under the posts for his second of the game, Twelvetrees making no mistake with a simple conversion.

The Cherry and Whites secured a four-try bonus point in the 55th minute thanks to a superb individual score from openside Jake Polledri which Twelvetrees embellished for 34-8.

The travelling Exiles fans had something else to cheer soon after when Teofilo Paulo finished off a powerful driving maul for their seconds try of the day, with Bell converting.

But Gloucester had the final say when Henry Purdy collected Burns’ accurate cross-field kick to squeeze in at the corner.

Exiles take a break for Aviva Premiership action this weekend when they travel to Edinburgh in the European Challenge Cup (7.35pm ko).

Gloucester: Hudson, Purdy, Symons, Twelvetrees (Atkinson 69), Thorley (Scott 56), Burns, Heinz (c) (Vellacott 40), Hohneck (McAllister 62), Hanson (Hibbard 59), Afoa, Savage (Clarke 69), Thrush, Polledri, Ludlow, Ackermann (Safe 70).

London Irish: Marshall, Cokanasiga (Woolstencroft 40), Mulchrone, McLean (Fowlie 2), Lewington, Bell, Steele (Meehan 56), Elrington (Reid 50), Paice (c), du Plessis (Hoskins 50), van der Merwe (Coman 69), Paulo, Coman (van der Merwe 59), Northcote-Green, Cowan.

Attendance: 12,351.