GLOUCESTER 38 - 30 LONDON IRISH
Wing Marland Yarde and replacement centre Shane Monahan both scored try hat-tricks at Kingsholm but Gloucester's bid to take the seventh Aviva Premiership place this season and, with it, a Champions Cup play-off match, has gone.
And there was more bad news despite the 38-30 success - with a month to go before England take on the All Blacks in New Zealand, Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees left the pitch with apparent damage to his ankle.
Gloucester only lost the lead once during the nine-try feast of sunshine rugby as back row Sione Kalamafoni and wing Charlie Sharples scored tries before Monahan's three.
Twelvetrees converted Kalamafoni's touchdown with fly-half Freddie Burns adding three penalties and a conversion.
Yarde scored two tries before the break, one converted by fly-half Ian Humphreys, and his side's fourth try bonus-point after setting up replacement Gerard Ellis for a score.
Humphreys added another conversion and penalty with Myles Dorrian booting a penalty.
The hosts needed a good start and they got it when a lovely move in the second minute involving Twelvetrees and scrum-half Jimmy Cowan saw a ruck develop and lock Elliott Stooke put Kalamafoni in on the left wing.
Twelvetrees put over a tremendous conversion but nine minutes into the game, the 25-year-old British Lion was shouldered off injured.
At the same time, Sharples collected a long cross-kick to the right corner from Burns to outstrip Irish full-back Tom Homer for Gloucester's second try.
The visitors sprung into life when the ball was thrown across the backs on their 10-metre line, with Yarde's blistering speed taking him home for the first of his three tries.
Gloucester suffered another blow to an England player when Sharples came off midway through the first half - but his problem did not seem as worrying as that with Twelvetrees.
However, the Cherry and Whites soon stretched their lead when Monaghan grabbed the first of his touchdowns as he dived into a ruck near the visiting line.
Cowan did Gloucester no favours when some backchat to referee Steve Lee earned him 10 minutes in the sin-bin and the depleted home side were stung again when Irish drove into their 22 for Humphreys to put Yarde away on a weaving run past four defenders for his second score.
Humphreys' conversion put Irish within five points at half-time but Gloucester soon got their fourth touchdown, and the bonus point, when centre Mike Tindall broke from halfway and fed Monahan on the left to beat the defending Yarde.
Ellis drove through for a third Irish touchdown before Burns stuck a 30-metre penalty - and an eighth touchdown came when Yarde earn his hat-trick on the hour as the winger profited from a lovely run from Humphreys. The bonus point score was also converted by the stand-off.
The Exiles completed the comeback when a simple 10-metre penalty in front of the posts from Humphreys put them 27-25 ahead - but a 49-metre Burns penalty changed the lead again with seven minutes left.
However, after Dorrian booted another penalty, Monahan's converted hat-trick try and a late Burns penalty denied the visitors a second losing bonus point and saw the Cherry and Whites home.