'Victory at Falcons is big stride forward'
GRITTY victory in Newcastle can help alter Gloucester's away day DNA, believes delighted boss Nigel Davies.
Gloucester's rugby director admitted the Cherry and Whites were kicking themselves for wasting a hatful of half-chances at Kingston Park yesterday – despite their 22-16 victory over Newcastle.
Loosehead prop Dan Murphy damaged his knee after only a minute of action.
Davies admitted the front-rower's swollen joint was a cause for concern.
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The former London Irish prop will be assessed today and tomorrow, and Davies refused to rule out looking into an injury dispensation signing if the news is not positive on Murphy.
Nick Wood now has six games left of his suspension for his Saracens red card, and any prolonged injury to Murphy would certainly test Gloucester's front-row resources.
Academy 20-year-old James Gibbons has fared well in A League action thus far, but Davies would certainly rather stagger his Premiership induction rather than pitch him into the deep end.
Davies said Gloucester's first league win in the North East since December 2007 can be the catalyst for a surge up the Premiership table.
This was also Gloucester's first Premiership away win since February's 27-11 victory at Northampton Saints.
And the Kingsholm boss has now challenged his charges to carry it forward to help propel Gloucester back into a play-off battle this season after opening defeats to Sale and Saracens.
Refusing to countenance the scenario had the Falcons pilfered a win with a series of tight 22 drives at the death, Davies explained: "Grinding out this result is vitally important for our season.
"We have to come away to difficult venues like Newcastle and get results if we've got any ambition to be in the play-offs.
"We certainly have that ambition, and that was a big result coming here off the back of that losing streak at Kingston Park.
"A psychological profile develops within the players and the team as a result of that, and it's a day that's a big stride forward for this group to come away with a result.
"Some teams have a DNA which is in-built in them, that they don't fare well against certain clubs, and this is the first time we've won up here in seven years.
"That's hugely psychologically significant, and a big step forward that we've been able to alter that."
Newcastle opened the scoring in the first minute at Kingston Park yesterday, wing Tom Catterick stunning Gloucester, who were seeking a fast start after their 26-24 Northampton Saints triumph.
Tries from Rob Cook and Jonny May, and no little rearguard action at the death, guided Gloucester home in the event though.
And Davies said that resolve to overturn a 10-0 deficit can now stand his side in good stead, especially with robust Exeter Chiefs at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick-off 2pm).
Davies said: "Mental strength was the most pleasing aspect of the result.
"They started extremely strongly, but we rode that out.
"The fact we couldn't hold on to the ball in their half really killed us in the first half, but we were far better in that department after the break.
"When there were opportunities to score we weren't clinical enough, we created a lot of chances that we just didn't finish off.
"We were kicking ourselves anyway, but we really would have been had we lost that game."
Confirming Murphy's knee problem will be monitored this week, Davies added: "Dan damaged his knee, it's very difficult to diagnose him at the moment, he just did it when he was running, there was no bang or knock.
"It has swollen up, so we'll just have to wait and see how he is.
"It puts a bit of pressure on our squad, but we've got back-up in that position, and we'll make some decisions in the next couple of days as to whether we feel we might need to bring somebody in.
"Henry Trinder has a slight hamstring strain, but we'll just have to see how serious that one is too."