Peter Butler column: Our 'second string' and Plan B worked wonders
THE embarrassment of riches Gloucester are blessed with in the back three department was once again on display as Bath were beaten,
With a potential England back three all missing in Olly Morgan, Jonny May and Charlie Sharples, you could excuse the 'second string' for not measuring up on such a huge occasion.
But Shane Monahan and Rob Cook looked the part alongside James Simpson-Daniel.
It was a combination of the superb Simpson-Daniel and Cook who broke Gloucester out of jail in the second half, combining for the latter to score after a poor first half had put the Cherry and Whites in trouble.
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It must be a source of concern to Nigel Davies that Gloucester have such a poor 40 minutes of rugby in them, especially on derby day when there is no room for complacency.
Against better sides than Bath – who have just lost talisman Olly Barkley to France – the Cherry and Whites could well find themselves out of the game if they make a habit of starting so slowly.
On the flipside, Davies will be satisfied with the turnaround. Being able to adapt within games when things aren't going well is a crucial skill at Premiership level.
Of course, the ideal situation is for the pre-game tactics to work perfectly, but we all know that is rarely the case.
Adapting within games comes down to having solid leaders on the field and using half time well, which Davies appeared to do against Bath.
Gloucester looked a different side after half time, and the result was a scrappy but very important 16-10 victory.
I spoke at the start of the season about how important momentum was and now Gloucester have it.
I wouldn't say the performances have been fantastic so far this season, but five wins in a row allows confidence to build, and from there the performances will start to come.
Going into the European break, Gloucester will feel comfortable with how the league looks.
Fifth spot, a point behind the top four is a nice place to be.
The downside to that is they haven't played many of the top sides up to this point.
The next league game is against Leicester at Kingsholm at the end of the month.
COWAN WILL BE FORCED TO FIGHT FOR THE SHIRT
‘RUSTY’ seemed to be the buzz word surrounding Jimmy Cowan’s Gloucester debut against Bath.
Of course it will take the New Zealander some time to adapt to the pace of Premiership rugby, but it was good to finally see him in cherry and white after he signed last season.
Both Dave Lewis and Dan Robson have been in fine form this season, which meant the delay in Cowan’s arrival has not been too much of an issue.
But with an All Black in the squad the competition for places will be ramped up.
It will be felt all the way through the week in training and certainly on match days when now there are three top number nines for two places – one in the starting line-up and the other on the bench.
A lot has been said about how Cowan can be a mentor to Gloucester’s young scrum-halves. While that is true to a certain extent, I would also suggest that all three players will be ready to fight for that place in the starting line-up.
Cowan’s main reason for coming here isn’t to bring youngsters through.
He is here to show he can mix it with the best regardless of which league he is playing in.
At the same time, Lewis and Robson won’t be ready to simply step aside for the big name to come in and rule the roost.
It makes for an interesting dynamic as the season continues.
WE CAN'T AFFORD TO PICK UP INJURIES ON EURO JAUNT
IT’S DIFFICULT to know where to pitch the Amlin Cup when it comes to Gloucester this season.
I say that because a few more injuries could derail the league season.
But Nigel Davies is not a man to take any competition lightly, as he has shown with his selections for the United on Monday evenings.
Gloucester’s squad depth is being tested, and any more stress could start to have a big impact on the performances on weekends.
So I will be very interested to see Davies’ team selection when it comes to the trip to Mont de Marsan.
They are an unknown quantity not to be taken lightly, but at the same time Gloucester have a crucial league game against Leicester in a couple of weeks.