Second straight defeat of Aviva season for Gloucester
10:42pm Sunday 15th September 2013 in Sport
GLOUCESTER paid the price for playing for 79 minutes with 14 men against Saracens – but director of rugby Nigel Davies insists they were better in their second successive Aviva Premiership loss than in their first, writes Paddy von Behr.
Davies’ troops were a dealt a crucial blow just 73 seconds into the clash at Allianz Park as Nick Wood was shown a red card for a stamp on Saracens’ 30-year-old flanker Jacques Burger.
Gloucester battled valiantly for the remainder of the first half with four penalties from Freddie Burns seeing them go in at half-time 12-10 ahead, however Saracens made the advantage count after the break.
David Strettle’s double and one try each from Schalk Brits and Billy Vunipola to add to Joel Tomkins’ first-half score gave Saracens a 44-12 victory and a second successive win as well as a bonus point.
In contrast, it is Gloucester’s second successive defeat, but Davies saw an improvement in the Saracens performance.
“In a bizarre way I’m a lot happier about the way we went about our business with 14 players this weekend than we did with 15 last weekend,” said Davies.
“It was always going to be a tough ask go there and we were in the right frame of mind and the boys showed that to carry on the way they did.
“We are not where we want to be after two games, but I’m confident this team will start winning sooner rather than later.
“Right now we are in a tough place but the boys won’t let their heads drop.”
Gloucester didn’t add to their score after Burns’ fourth penalty a minute before the break while Owen Farrell kicked 17 points for Saracens and replacement Ben Spencer two.
As for Wood’s red card, Davies had no complaints with the decision as it happened but was quick to insist that the act was out of character for the 30-year-old.
“It’s very difficult for Nick, he was in bits in the changing room, said Davies. “I saw it on the big screen like everybody else and it didn’t look great.
“Nick is not a dirty player and never has been. He’s a good technician and a good rugby player. The red card, as it was seen by the referee, was fair.
“Nick has apologised for what happened and has been big enough to do that. He’s a good guy and will come back stronger. Everybody makes mistakes.”
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