Gloucester Rugby: Now it's time to deliver on our promise
TIME to realise your potential – that's what Nigel Davies will say to his Gloucester squad this week.
The Cherry and Whites boss is heartened by his side's ability to grind out league points in the midst of poor performances – but he admits that cannot last forever.
Kingsholm rugby director Davies hailed Gloucester's resolve in scrambling a 16-16 draw from potential defeat in Saturday's Sixways derby clash with Worcester Warriors. The home side snatched a 16-13 lead with just a minute to play, but nerveless Freddie Burns levelled the match with a penalty that sounded the final whistle.
Davies admits Gloucester should have progressed to win the game after Henry Trinder's 65th minute try, but he believes ultimately that a draw was the fair outcome.
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Slamming his team's poor first-up defence, Davies said there will be much training-ground work this week in a bid to get his side firing.
The former Wales centre explained: "There's a lot more that this Gloucester team can show, but we have to build from something, and the fact that we're fighting and staying in games, even when we're not playing well, that's encouraging.
"A draw was a fair result: it was a game of no halves.
"We came away to win the game, and be pragmatic where we needed to after a win the week before at London Irish.
"It wasn't a great spectacle, we didn't play much rugby and our accuracy was poor.
"But we showed a lot of grit again to get the draw, and that's pleasing.
"Ultimately to come back and get the draw in the fashion we did showed a lot of maturity. It was a pretty poor game all-round, no one's hiding from that.
"If we were at 60 per cent last week we dropped below that this time around.
"But if you'd have asked me at the start of the season if I'd have taken a draw here, I would have said yes.
"There's still a lot of work to do but we're still putting points on the board where the league table is concerned and that's important."
Admitting Gloucester cannot survive on guts and determined scramble cover defence tactics every week, Davies said there will be a refocus on the training field this week, in a bid to plug some sizeable rearguard gaps.
Calling for far greater accuracy with the ball too, Davies continued: "The try we scored was probably only one of three times when we actually built phases in the game.
"I thought we were poor defensively, especially first-up defence, and we've got to address that.
"Our scramble defence saved us the game, but we've got to get our defence sorted out.
"To come away and do what we've done at Worcester, at this stage, that's not bad.
"That was a poor performance, hopefully we won't play that badly again all year, but at least we got some points out of the game.
"The defence is all about understanding, and that's something that hopefully we can address this week now.
"We can't keep defending like that and expect to get results, it just won't stand up long-term.
"Things will improve naturally over time, but we've got to stay ahead of that curve and make sure we tighten that up straight away.
"We managed to get ourselves out of a couple of holes with great cover tackling on Saturday, but that won't work every time.
"So that's certainly something we'll be looking to sharpen up as soon as possible."
Bruising wing Monahan produced a powerful performance on his full debut, leaving Davies impressed.
Scotching any injury fears for the former Leinster man, Davies added: "Shane had a finger in the eye, probably from his own team-mates, it was painful for him, but he's fine thankfully.
"He had another strong showing, he offers something different, he always looks for work and he's going well."