Davies admits LV=Cup defeat was fair result for sloppy Gloucester Rugby
SLOPPY Gloucester did not deserve to steal LV=Cup victory at the Ospreys, admits rugby director Nigel Davies.
The Cherry and Whites stormed back from a 26-13 second-half deficit at the Liberty Stadium, to lead 27-26 with just three minutes remaining.
But no sooner had Gloucester pilfered the lead than the home side whipped it back, through number eight Morgan Allen’s match-winning try.
The Welsh hosts wound up with the 33-27 victory then – and Gloucester boss Davies conceded it was the right result.
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Fly-half Billy Burns headed to hospital for scans on his shoulder injury, flanked by older brother Freddie.
Davies said the Gloucester medics will keep tabs on Burns Junior’s progress over the weekend – but he did not look too clever when he left the field in Swansea just shy of the hour-mark.
Lamenting his side’s inability to clear their lines with purpose and accuracy, Davies said the rain-soaked night ended in a damp squib because of loose basics.
Davies explained: “We just didn’t manage the game and the conditions well enough.
“The Ospreys handled that far better.
“We failed to exit well at all and put a lot of pressure on ourselves for a large amount of the time.
“They had a better kicking game than us: we had no length and no accuracy with that.
“That was the deciding factor, we need to play the game in the right areas and we just couldn’t do that.
“If I’m honest it’s a fair result, I don’t think we could have expected much more.”
Gloucester handled the first half-hour stronger than the hosts, Yann Thomas’ driving-maul try edging the visitors into a 13-6 lead.
But Matthew Morgan’s accurate boot – with three penalties and two drop-goals – ensured the Ospreys turned around 15-13 ahead.
Nigel Davies’ son Sam’s first meaningful contribution for the Ospreys was to extend their lead to 21-13 after the turnaround.
And then Tom Grabham slid gleefully into the left corner to set up that 26-13 lead.
Gloucester’s trademark has been resilience this term though, and the Kingsholm men then powered back from the brink.
Replacement prop Dan Murphy capped a fine drive for the first try – and then a lineout catch-and-drive forced a penalty score.
It should have been enough for Davies’ men – but the hosts had other ideas.
Another loose Gloucester clearance – and one lineout tail peel later, number eight Allen bulldozed home.
Frustrated Gloucester could not hold on at the death after fighting back, Davies continued: “It was sloppy in the end to leak that try, having worked so hard to get back in front.
“We probably didn’t deserve the lead but because of our resilience that’s what comes with it.
“But again it was fantastic to see the way the boys fought back.
“And we should have nailed it and finished it off right there.
“But that’s the nature of the game, and if you show resilience you can stay in games, and you can pinch wins sometimes.
“We’ve got a point and a point away from home can be important.
“It’s often hard to know how the pools will pan out and if we can win the next three, then a bonus point away might just be enough.”