Gloucester Rugby still in Premiership play-off hunt despite Wasps defeat
UPBEAT Nigel Davies believes Gloucester are still in the Premiership play-offs hunt after the Cherry and Whites pilfered two league points despite defeat at Wasps.
The Cherry and Whites boss hailed his side's guts to fight back with two last-gasp tries, to secure both try and losing bonus points at Adams Park yesterday.
Wasps powered into a 33-17 lead with eight minutes to play.
But then Gloucester stole scores through Ryan Mills and Charlie Sharples, to add to earlier tries for Dan Robson and captain Mike Tindall.
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The hosts boasted scores from Ashley Johnson, Christian Wade and Billy Vunipola – and in the end perhaps just deserved their victory.
Rugby director Davies was pleased with his side's overall showing in the 33-29 defeat – but admitted 15 crucial second-half minutes cost them the tie.
Davies picked out arch-finisher Wade's eighth Premiership try of the season as the decisive score.
Vunipola picked Sione Kalamafoni's pocket after Gloucester had blasted Wasps at a scrum – and Davies said that steal proved pivotal.
The former Wales centre explained: "We're still in the hunt for a top-four spot, and that's the important thing.
"If we put a big performance against Worcester this coming weekend, then who knows and that's still got to be our focus.
"I'm generally very positive with that performance.
"We controlled the game for large parts.
"But Wasps take their chances, with the quality of finishers they have got.
"We didn't take our opportunities in the first half, there were a few chances that we didn't convert, that went begging.
"And then that scrum in the second-half was the key moment.
"We were very dominant in that scrum I thought, but it descended into a real mess.
"Vunipola broke away and Wade scored a try, which he's easily capable of doing.
"It gave them momentum and they came at us hard for the next 15 minutes.
"I thought nine times out of ten you'd probably get a penalty out of that situation.
"But we can't control the decisions, and we just get on with it.
"That gave them momentum but we still should have dealt with things better than we did.
"And we lost a bit of shape for that period, where they took control of the game.
"Overall I thought our performance was good though.
"We've come away from here with two bonus points outscoring them four tries to three.
"It's important to keep the league points ticking over.
"It keeps us in the hunt, and that's vital.
"It's going to be an intriguing run to the end of the season."
Wasps hold onto fourth spot after this victory, while Gloucester move on to host Worcester at Kingsholm on Friday (kick-off 7.45pm).
Buoyed by yesterday's rip-snorting contest, Davies said his side can be pleased with their six-point haul from consecutive away trips to Northampton and Wasps.
He continued: "It was a great game of rugby to watch.
"That was two very similar teams in many ways, with the power that both sides have in the back-row, and the pace and finishing ability out wide.
"Both sides had a real go at each other, in a good old-fashioned scrap that I'm sure a lot of people will have enjoyed watching.
"And we gave ourselves a chance right at the end, we showed a bit of urgency.
"Momentum can swing very quickly, and while it swung against us when Wade scored, we made sure it swung back.
"We took full advantage of those chances at the end really.
"Rugby's about character as much as anything else.
"Technically there are areas for us to work on – the lineout wasn't great, but I thought we were pretty dominant at the scrum.
"The breakdown was a real battle with both sides contesting very well.
"Overall we're in a reasonable position – but we appreciate we've got to take that forward."
Bullish openside flanker Akapusi Qera trudged off the Adams Park field before half-time after one of umpteen brutal collisions.
Davies said the 28-year-old back-rower suffered a 'stinger' in his neck that affected his left arm – but he does not expect the problem to last.
He added: "Qera took a bit of a stinger to his neck, it shouldn't be too serious.
"It's one of those hopefully where he can't really continue on the day, but there shouldn't be too many lingering issues."