Peter Butler column: Players took their chance but opportunity has been missed by Gloucester Rugby
NIGEL Davies' bold selection highlighted how some excellent players exist on the fringes of the Gloucester squad, but the Heineken Cup is surely not the arena for experimentation.
It was great to see so many of the 'squad' players really step up to the mark, but there was an away win there for the taking against a Munster side low on confidence and nowhere near the great teams of recent times.
You cannot throw criticism at those players who came in, but if Davies wanted to test the depth of his squad there are two LV= Cup games coming up offering ample opportunity.
Instead he chose to make wholesale changes for a trip to Thomond Park – and in doing so missed a huge opportunity to take a giant step towards qualification for the knockout stages.
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I understood the reasons Davies gave, and you can only describe the selection as brave, but Heineken Cup games are not about looking to the future.
They are about doing everything you can to win in the here and now.
It's impossible to weigh the value of blooding so many players in a game of such high intensity against the damage of the defeat.
If Gloucester go on to win more big games because of the experience picked up by one or two guys on Saturday night then Davies' decision is vindicated, but that is impossible to measure.
Instead all we have to go on is the result, and it felt like Gloucester lost a game they could have won.
That said, the performance of those who were sent into battle was excellent.
I've said before I'm a huge Jimmy Cowan fan, but Dan Robson had one of his best games for the club on Saturday, highlighting the competition for the number nine shirt.
Having Cowan there to learn from is huge for Robson and performances like the one against Munster show his game is quickly developing.
It was Robson who spotted the space for Charlie Sharples' incredibly simple try. Sharples was another who looked sharp after perhaps not his best start to the season.
Getting a starting berth on the wing for Gloucester is pretty tough at the moment.