Gloucester Rugby: Win over Northampton Saints a great confidence booster
THE tighter the victory, the greater the confidence boost.
Nigel Davies knows Gloucester should have been out of sight well before Billy Twelvetrees' penalty saved the day against Northampton Saints on Saturday.
The Gloucester boss will concede his side should have tied up victory when James Simpson- Daniel set debutant Elliott Stooke up for the Cherry and Whites' third try.
Saints struck back to level the try-count three-all through Jamie Elliott, with Stephen Myler's conversion stealing a one-point lead with a minute to play.
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Centre Twelvetrees landed the goal to secure a 26-24 win with the game's final kick, leaving Saints floored – but Gloucester dancing on the ceiling.
Rugby director Davies now wants his men to seize the feel-good factor that comes with a last-gasp triumph and then maybe look at avoiding similarly heart-stopping endings.
"From my point of view I'll take a routine win any day!" he said.
"The emotions of both teams swung dramatically in those last five minutes.
"It's the worst way to lose a game in the last play, but it's also the best way to win.
"Our performance deserved a victory.
"There's lots of our game that we didn't manage particularly well, our lineout still needs a lot of work, it doesn't give us the platform that we need.
"But we know that, and there's a lot of good work in there too that we can be proud of."
Saints thought they had the game won when British Lion George North's half-field break led to wing Elliott racing clear.
But the visitors knocked on at the restart, and Gloucester stole a penalty at the scrum.
Northampton boss Jim Mallinder was incensed, claiming at least four Gloucester men were offside from the restart, then questioning referee Martin Fox's decision to award that pivotal scrum penalty.
The Saints felt Ben Morgan illegally kicked the ball back into the scrum, which would have negated the offside decision against Northampton scrum-half Lee Dickson.
Davies argued his side could have been awarded the penalty even before the ball found Morgan's feet at the scrum base.
He added: "I thought we were definitely on the front foot in that last scrum, so I thought that was a fair call.
"Their argument would be around whether the ball was in or out, but from our viewpoint we could argue the ref should have blown a bit earlier, because we were in the ascendancy.
"So I can see the situation from both sides, but if that decision had come at any other point in the game, there would have been little or no issue."