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Gloucester Rugby: Heineken Cup hopes in tatters after Edinburgh defeat

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 15, 2013

By Mike Brown

Comments (14)

Gloucester’s Heineken Cup hopes were left in tatters after they crashed to a dour defeat at the hands of Edinburgh at Kingsholm.

Nigel Davies’ men put themselves in a commanding position in Pool Six with an impressive victory over the Scots at Murrayfield last week.

But they failed to complete what could have been a decisive double as their European hopes slipped in frustrating fashion.

Davies said: “Obviously it’s a huge setback for us in Europe.

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“We are very frustrated we couldn’t back that performance up last week.

“We didn’t manage the game at all, the conditions dictated that we had to play a certain way and we got it wrong, badly wrong.

“Our discipline let us down again and it fed Edinburgh. They played the conditions better than us, and when you put everything together, that is where they won the game.

“They had a pretty focused game-plan and they stuck to it, and we have got to be able to adapt to top teams who eke out wins.

“It is a mental thing, we were buoyed by last week, but we are still not in a rhythm, we are not in a groove of winning games.

“And you’ve got to do that and eke out wins however you can. We played for the large parts, the wrong game.

“In terms of Europe, all is not lost, obviously it’s a huge setback for us but Munster here is a big fixture for us, and we go to Perpignan, and that might be an opportunity.”

They appeared on course for a victory when the Cherry and Whites pack asserted their authority by powering over for a penalty try but the boot of Jack Cuthbert kept Edinburgh’s noses in front at the break.

Burns nudged Gloucester into the lead early in the second-half but Ben Atiga crossed for a vital try.

And the Cherry and White’s inaccuracy and lack of direction coupled with Edinburgh’s bloody determination ensured the Scots hung on to break the home side’s heart.

Last week’s 23-12 victory over the Scots had kept Gloucester’s hopes of qualification alive but they were once again facing a must win clash following Munster’s heroics in Perpignan.

The Irish province struck in injury-time to snatch a dramatic victory at Stade Aime Giral and move six points clear in the group on Saturday.

And following Gloucester failure to maintain the pressure, they must now triumph in their remaining games against the Heineken Cup giants.

Davies made just one change to the side that triumphed at Murrayfield with Tavis Knoyle starting at scrum-half at the expense of former All Black Jimmy Cowan. New-signing Sila Puafisi also lined up on the bench.

Gloucester imposed themselves from the off-set at Kingsholm but were unable to turn their early pressure into points.

They were punished by the boot of Cuthbert, who struck on nine minutes after Knoyle was penalised for taking an Edinburgh player out off the ball.

Burns had the opportunity to level the scores but was off-target in blustery conditions and Cuthbert stretched the visitors’ lead to 6-0 with a monstrous 49-metre effort albeit with the help of the crossbar.

Gloucester continued to dominate territorially and Billy Twelvetrees almost unlocked the Edinburgh defence with a delightful grubber-kick but Martyn Thomas was beat by the touchline.

But that was a rare bright spot as Gloucester wasted any potential attacking opportunities.

They were limited attack and short of ideas as Edinburgh spoiled the ball, soaked up any pressure and snatched precious penalties at the breakdown.

The Cherry and Whites were dealt a blow on 25 minutes when Burns departed to the blood-bin and Edinburgh enjoyed a rare venture deep into the Gloucester half.

But momentum was lost as Ross Ford spilled possession and Gloucester soon grabbed the opening try.

With the hosts’ struggling to unlock the Edinburgh defence in attack they turned to route one.

The pack has received plenty of criticism this season but after fronting up in Scotland they once again flexed their muscle on their own patch.

From a driving lineout they steamrolled through the heart of the Scots’ pack, leaving Romain Poite with no choice but to award a penalty try.

Burns, back on following treatment for a cut to the head, converted from in front of the sticks but Cuthbert once again hit-back to bring the scores to 9-7 at the interval.

Matt Kvesic set the tone for the second-half after bursting through the midfield to set Edinburgh alarm bells ringing.

The break laid the foundations for a try but typically of the previous 40 minutes Edinburgh turned over possession and the opportunity was lost.

Alan Solomon’s men raised the tempo in the second-half and quickly demonstrated exactly how to turn pressure into points.

A Tom Brown break down the left put the Scots on the front foot and following several pick and goes the ball was spread to Atiga, who stepped inside a furious Jonny May to stretch over.

Cuthbert was once again on target but blew his 100 per cent ratio on 57 minutes, as the scores remained 16-10.

And Edinburgh were dealt a further blow with Willem Nel paid the price for an under-pressure scrum with a yellow card on the hour mark.

The Scots were soon fortunate to remain at 14-men as breaks from Tinall and Rob Cook led to a frantic period of play in which Greig Tonks was penalised for a deliberate knock on.

But again Gloucester’s inaccuracy proved costly as they squandered a succession of opportunities and they were dealt a major blow when Sione Kalamafoni was stretchered off following extensive treatment.

They still had field position to push for an all-important try but shot themselves in the foot when Burns was penalised for his over exuberance when trying to retrieve the ball for a five-metre lineout.

From there out Edinburgh kept the Cherry and Whites pinned back to their own half and following a comical Cuthbert miss from the tee, after Ben Morgan was sent to the sin-bin, they pressed for a try of their own.

The Scots went through a succession of phases and Nel appeared to have powered over but lost the ball forward to keep Gloucester’s faintest of hopes alive.

But they were quickly quashed as Edinburgh ran down the clock to gain revenge for last week’s result at Murrayfield.

Gloucester : R Cook; M Thomas (C Sharples 64) (T Hicks 68), H Trinder (M Tindall 58), B Twelvetrees, J May; F Burns, T Knoyle (D Robson 48); Y Thomas (D Murphy 64), D Dawidiuk (H Edmonds 71), S Knight (S Puafisi 45), E Stooke, J Hudson, S Kalamafoni, M Kvesic (M Cox 64), B Morgan.

Try – Penalty; Con – Burns; Pens - Burns

Edinburgh : J Cuthbert; D Fife, J Dominguez, B Atiga, T Brown; G Tonks, G Hart; W Blaauw (A Dickinson 46), R Ford (capt), WP Nel, G Gilchrist, I van der Westhuizen (O Atkins 48), T Leonardi, R Grant, C Du Preez.

Try – B Atiga; Con – J Cuthbert; Pens – J Cuthbert 3

Referee: R Poite

Attendance: 10, 975

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  • Drussus  |  December 18 2013, 9:25PM

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is an abject lesson in precisely what happens when your first choice and best tight head, Rupҽrt Hardҽn, is rested for the important games, and there is no adequate back up for him. Mullered in scrum after scrum throughout the game.

    Rate   9
  • TollyGlaws54  |  December 18 2013, 9:12PM

    A troll is a troll and The_Selector aka shedheadNEVER/gloslover-not/dumbanddumber20/dopey-lerone is a clueless Gloucester Rugby and Rupҽrt Hardҽn hating troll who has no idea where Kingsholm is because he doesn't even support Gloucester Rugby, He has no idea about rugby union either as he loves watching wendyball.

    Rate   9
  • Gambone  |  December 18 2013, 9:09PM

    Let's face it, Gloucester's scrum is never the same without Rupҽrt Hardҽn anchoring it and we have no effective maul or defence against it when he is not on the field. Nigel Davies knows that which is why he (and not the clueless multi-identitied troll The_Selector aka shedheadNEVER/gloslover-not/dopey-lerone/bikeshed/dumbanddumber20) selects Harden to start in the tough, critical games.

    Rate   9
  • Conrad-SeIby  |  December 18 2013, 9:00PM

    Laughing at the clueless Gloucester Rugby and Rupҽrt Hardҽn hating troll The_Selector aka shedheadNEVER/gloslover-not/dopey-lerone/bikeshed/dumbanddumber20 pretending that he knows anything about rugby or that he is remotely interested in Gloucester Rugby.

    Rate   9
  • TommoOGlaws  |  December 18 2013, 8:54PM

    Nigel Davies knows that Harden is his top tight head; everyone else knows that Rupҽrt Hardҽn is the best tight head at Glaws. The only one who thinks otherwise and thinks he is better than Nigel Davies is the troll The_Selector aka shedheadNEVER/gloslover-not/dopey-lerone/bikeshed/dumbanddumber20 etc.

    Rate   9
  • Drussus  |  December 18 2013, 8:49PM

    The_Selector aka shedheadNEVER aka gloslover-not or DumbAndDumber20 or dopey_lerone is upset because he has been found out using another of his Gloucester Rugby hating troll identities. Now he is on his big-baby anti-Rupҽrt Hardҽn mega-rant just because Harden has proved him so wrong time after time with his brilliant displays of tight head rugby.

    Rate   9
  • stew_glos  |  December 18 2013, 8:36PM

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Laugh at the useless Gloucester Rugby and Rupҽrt Hardҽn hating multi-troll The_Selector aka shedheadNEVER aka gloslover-not or DumbAndDumber20 or dopey_lerone if he prefers. He is soooo upset that he has been found out with his latest identity. He knows absolutely nothing about rugby union, sat in his sad home for sad lonely old men.

    Rate   9
  • Gambone  |  December 18 2013, 8:19PM

    Let's face it, the so-called "shedheadNOT" aka "gloslover-NOT" aka "EmmaGlaws_79" aka The_Selector" is just the same clueless old Gloucester hating multi-identity troll who has never been to any Gloucester game at Kingsholm, let alone any away and has no idea about front row play. He knows nothing about Puafisi or any other Gloucester Rugby. He doesn't even know what the Shed is. # Rupҽrt Hardҽn is Gloucester Rugby's stand-out tight head. ND knows it which is why he selects him to start all the critical games.

    Rate   9
  • TollyGlaws54  |  December 18 2013, 7:47PM

    Laugh at the brain-dead troll shedheadNOT aka gloslover-NOT aka "EmmaGlaws_79" aka The_Selector" pretending to be a Gloucester Rugby supporter. The fact is, he is a clueless idiot who knows absolutely nothing about Gloucester Rugby or rugby union. In fact, he knows so little about anything that it comes as no surprise that his daily routine includes a visit to the job centre.

    Rate   9
  • Conrad-SeIby  |  December 18 2013, 7:06PM

    ...And up pops the very Gloucester Rugby and Rupҽrt Hardҽn hating multi-troll, "shedheadNEVER" aka "EmmaGlaws_79" aka "The_Selector", with his usual drivel demonstrating again that he hasn't got the first clue about rugby union. Remember, he has never been to any Gloucester Rugby games and he has no idea where Kingsholm is or who any of the players are. He most certainly has never, ever played the game and, once again, he has just proven how clueless and dull he is.

    Rate   9