We learnt another hard lesson on Saturday after slipping to a one-point defeat to Richmond after giving away a silly penalty right at the end.
We started brightly and kept the ball for long periods but instead of going ahead we found ourselves under our own sticks and 7-0 down.
From there we were chasing the game and the guys became anxious. We got ourselves in position to win the game but gave away a soft penalty and lost by a point.
Someone went off their feet at a ruck but the annoying thing is the breakdown had been a mess all day and in that instance we appeared in control.
We were running down the clock with lots of pick and goes but it resulted in a game-changing penalty.
It was one of those things – a bit of a catch 22 – if it came off it would have been well played and if it didn’t we should have kicked.
Ultimately we have to look at what got us there and we should never have been in that position.
If we didn’t let them in for that soft early tries try it would never have happened.
We have gone through a magnitude of emotions and ultimately the biggest one is frustration but I can fault the heart, desire and work rate of the boys.
We are still fighting and just have to carry preparing well and doing our best.
We face Fylde this week who have set the target of scoring 100 tries this season and they are on course with 97 so it’s pretty clear to see what brand of rugby they play.
They either win by 50 odd points or lose.
So our aim must be to counteract the way they play. We know exactly what to expect and if we stop them scoring tries we will have a really good chance.
They will still be smarting from their loss to Hull Ionians, who have won just three times this season, and will be fired up.
We still have two games in hand but you have to win them otherwise they count for nothing.
I have spent hours working out all the different permutations but essentially it all comes down to us and we have to win as many games as we can.
We must focus on ourselves and I believe in what the players can produce, they just have to do it more often.
GLOUCESTER BOYS COME OUT WITH CREDIT
Although Ireland took the Six Nations title I was really impressed with England and the attack minded rugby they produced.
They have rightly been talking their achievements down and highlighting that they haven’t won anything yet which is good to see, apart from the Triple Crown.
Their attention now turns to the summer tour of New Zealand and they simply have to take a strong touring squad. Sometimes players need a rest but that shouldn’t be the case this time, especially with the fact that they are playing the All Blacks and the World Cup is a year away.
If you look at the Welsh and Irish players a lot of them have had a relentless season from the Lions tour on but there are only a handful of England players who were majorly involved and right now that’s proving to be a positive.
All three of Gloucester’s players equipped themselves really well throughout the Championship. Billy
Twelvetrees has continually improved, his combination with Luther Burrell has been great and that puts pressure on the guys coming back. Ben Morgan has been outstanding and while Jonny May has a lot to learn in international rugby he is still a big talent and should make the World Cup squad.
England are shaping up really nicely for it, the two second-rows are the best in the world at the moment and with the back-row players they have it all bodes very well especially with the way the half-backs are playing and the form of Mike Brown at full-back.
With the World Cup in this country it is England’s to lose, the southern hemisphere teams, and as always New Zealand in particular will be a threat, but they are building nicely.
Stuart Lancaster deserves a huge amount of credit for that. He was in a bit of a sticky spot when he started, he was an unknown and not a big name but he is a humble man and there are no thrills.
Players today are global superstars but Lancaster has kept them grounded. You have to be humble, work hard and realise what got you in that position and Lancaster has instilled that.
You only have to look at Danny Care and Mike Brown as examples. Maybe they were a bit petulant before but under Lancaster they have got their heads down, are delivering their true form and are reaping the rewards of that.
NEW PLANS SEEM BAD NEWS FOR OUR GAME
Over the last two years there has been a lot of talk and consultations with the RFU over the future format of the league structure below the Championship.
It now seems they have thrown it all out of the window and are going to plough ahead with their plans.
They want to reduce the number of clubs in National League One from 16 to 14 with just two relegated
instead of three.
Lower down they want to regionalise the structure from a new level four down and implement new cup competitions.
This is completely against what the National One and Two clubs voted for and is to the detriment of a lot of teams throughout the leagues.
Less fixtures ultimately means less revenue, reduced opportunities for sponsorship and greater pressure on the club.
The increased regionalisation will also reduce playing standards and potentially participation numbers which is only bad news for our game.
There’s talk of certain regional unions taking the RFU to court or even breaking away over the proposals so there are certainly interesting times ahead!
RIGHT BEHIND CHARLTON KINGS PITCH BATTLE
Last week saw the iconic Cheltenham Festival take place and it’s a brilliant event for the county.
I was lucky enough to go to Peter Buxton’s ‘Bucko Sports’ hospitality marquee on the Thursday and Friday and it was a great opportunity to mix with a lot of guys involved in local sport.
Charlton Kings Cricket Club hosted and sold the event on the Thursday and it was really interesting to hear the latest news regarding their huge ongoing legal battle over their outfield.
They thought they had won their fight after winning a two-year case last year but it has recently been taken to the Court of Appeal by the owner’s widow whose land backs onto the club.
They went through massive expense for the original case and it was money earmarked to improve facilities at one of the oldest clubs in the area.
They have around 180 young cricketers on their books and what a shame that the money raised will once again have to be put into legal costs instead of bats, balls and pads.
Thursday at the Races proves to be one of their greatest fund raising events in the year to support this cause.
Sport has such a positive influence on so many people and is so important for the social fabric of communities. I just hope they win this latest battle.