GLOUCESTER director of rugby Nigel Davies admits his side’s set piece was exposed by Leicester Tigers – but he believes their 17-12 loss at Welford Road offers more signs of encouragement than deflation, writes John Hunter.
In the muddy conditions, Tigers dominated large spells of possession but were made to work hard for their victory.
Their pack dominated the scrum from the kick-off, with Gloucester’s creaking set piece giving the Tigers the upper hand, – though the boot of Freddie Burns gave the Cherry and Whites a 6-3 half-time lead.
Anthony Allen’s second-half try proved to be decisive though, while George Ford shook off a nervy start to dispatch two penalties late on as the Tigers got themselves over the line.
Despite picking up what could prove to be a valuable losing bonus point, Davies acknowledges they had too big a mountain to climb.
“Our scrum has been a big part of our season so far, so we’re disappointed to come second best here,” he said.
“The set piece wasn’t as good as it should have been, our exiting of the positions wasn’t great and they put a lot of pressure on us.
“I thought the conditions probably suited them rather more than us and the way we want to play.
“We’re a side in transition and a side with a lot of room for improvement, but I think we’re already seeing glimpses of how good this team can be.
“To be able to come here and not play particularly well but compete to the end is encouraging.”
Gloucester were twice thwarted on the line by desperate Tigers defence as the game drew to a close and Tigers lock Geoff Parling, who claimed the Man of the Match award for his efforts, admits his side had to work for the victory.
Burns once again highlighted his England pedigree with several tough kicks in the tricky conditions, but Parling was just relieved to move on with the four points.
“We did really well to keep them out at the end and we have to be very proud of that win because we worked hard for it,” said Parling.
“Those are the games where the heads can go down a little bit if things aren’t going your way but we kept at it and you have to be pleased with that.
“We couldn’t quite believe we were behind at half-time, especially with that pressure in their end zone that we’d had.
“It was a tough half because we probably should have come away with a few more points when they had players in the sin-bin.
“But it was a 15-man job and we got there in the end.”
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