GLOUCESTER forwards coach Ali Hogg has warned his side that their inability to adapt cost them dear in their 32-5 defeat to West Country rivals Bath in the LV= Cup, writes Nick Atkin.
The Cherry & Whites had not lost to their local rivals at home in seven years but that all came to a crashing halt on Saturday in Bath’s five-try romp.
Olly Woodburn’s early try was cancelled out by Huia Edmonds but four more scores from the visitors after the interval through Nick Abendanon, Semesa Rokoduguni, Matt Gilbert and Stephen Donald sealed a comfortable win.
And Hogg admitted afterwards that despite the scores being level at the break, the damage was done in the opening exchanges.
“Conceding 17 penalties in a game, two yellow cards, you're always going to put yourself on the back foot,” said Hogg.
“Although we defended very well in the first half – at 5-5 I thought we'd weathered the storm – we spent a lot of time in our 22. That amount of attrition took its toll in the last 20 minutes.
“When you're asked to defend as long as we did, the referee is going to start looking at you as a defensive side. I thought the main factor was a lack of ability to adapt to the referee's interpretation.
“We made a few changes in the last 20 minutes with a view to going up to Franklin's Gardens next time and we got to look at some young guys.
“We did not do ourselves any favours, there was no lack of effort out there but our interpretation was poor.”
Next up for Nigel Davies’ side is a key Aviva Premiership clash with Northampton Saints before a chance for revenge against Bath at the Rec in a fortnight’s time.
And winger Charlie Sharples insists that there will be much room for improvement by the time the two sides lock horns again.
“It was a pretty disappointing day at the office and luckily it did not have much bearing other than being a derby match, fortunately it was a dead rubber game,” he added.
“We cannot afford to get too down about it because we have some big games in the Aviva Premiership coming up.
“We have to put this to the back of our minds and start putting some good rugby together in time for a trip to the Rec in a couple of weeks.”
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