'Mayhem' must act as lesson for us, says Gloucester's Nick Wood
GLOUCESTER must form a rapid response unit to combat periods of opposition dominance and keep that top-four dream alive, believes Nick Wood.
Quicker thinking will be crucial to the Cherry and Whites' chances of outsmarting the Premiership's best and brightest, reckons the accomplished loosehead prop.
Wood admits '15 minutes of mayhem' in Sunday's second half against Wasps cost them victory at Adams Park.
Despite two last-gasp tries Gloucester slipped up 33-29 but were boosted by claiming both the losing and try bonus points.
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Gloucester host Worcester at Kingsholm on Friday night (kick-off 7.45pm), keen to hit back to home form after that horrendous 32-5 LV=Cup defeat to Bath.
Cirencester-raised Wood thinks Gloucester can realise their league play-off ambitions, provided they start solving problems at greater speed in the heat of battle.
Mike Tindall's try to open Sunday's second-half buoyed Gloucester's hopes, only for the visitors to concede cheap scrum possession, allowing Christian Wade to pounce.
The 21-year-old flier's try stunned Gloucester and turned the match, with Wood conceding the Kingsholm men took too long to recover.
Wood explained: "At the start of that 15 minutes of madness we kicked off, re-gathered the ball, they knocked on, and we had a scrum.
"Then we failed to control the ball in the contact from the scrum. Once they've done that the challenge is not to let them do it again, or not to let them break down the wings certainly.
"We started to get a little bit loose, and so it was up to us to focus on what had been our strengths in the game to that point, ask ourselves what had we done to control things and get ourselves in that position.
"It probably took us 15 minutes to recover that, gather our thoughts and challenge for points at the end.
"We're always going to come under pressure in matches – but it's about how you respond to it that counts. And hopefully we can be that little bit quicker at countering that kind of pressure this weekend.
"I think we can carry 60 to 65 minutes of the Wasps game into Friday night.
"We've just got to cut out that 15 minutes of mayhem that played exactly into Wasps' hands."
While lamenting the Wasps loss, Wood also hailed Gloucester's six-point haul from consecutive away trips to Northampton and the Wycombe men.
Claim two more positive results against Worcester and Bath – and the former Radley College man thinks Gloucester will stay in the play-off shake-up.
The 30-year-old continued: "We've got to look to the bigger picture.
"We said we had to go to Franklin's Gardens and Adams Park and come away with something from both games – and we've done that.
"We're not happy that we didn't win at Wasps but we know where we came up short.
"It was a good win at Northampton. But look at the situation at 33-17 down, we could have left with nothing and that would have put a totally different complexion on what comes next.
"It's an 80-minute game and we fought all the way, and we should be proud of that.
"We recovered from that terrible 15 minutes – even if it was slightly sluggish – and we have to carry that forward.
"We expect to perform at home, but we also realise we've still got things to atone for on that front.
"We know that if we deliver what we did for 80 minutes at Northampton, and for 60 to 65 at Wasps, then we'll put in a good performance on Friday.
"Sunday felt partly a missed opportunity but also partly two points gained.
"It was definitely two points gained at the end, but that middle section killed us.
"But fair play to the recovery at the end, that sums up our spirit this year: it could have been game over but we played ourselves back into two bonus points.
"And if we'd held the ball maybe we could have played our way to a win.
"With a quick turnaround this week from Sunday to Friday it will have to be a light training week.
"That means the biggest preparation challenges are mental – so we have to be switched on all week."