NIGEL Davies paid the price for a dismal season as he was axed as Gloucester director of rugby on Monday.
In a shock statement the club confirmed the former Welsh international would leave Kingsholm with immediate effect just two years into a three year contract.
The decision came just hours after the Cherry and Whites lost to Worcester Warriors in the relegated rivals’ first league win at Sixways this season.
That proved to be the final tipping point for Davies in a season that saw the club finish ninth in the league, fail to reach the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup and miss out on a place in the Rugby Champions Cup.
Davies was informed of the decision at Kingsholm on Monday morning.
Gloucester CEO Stephen Vaughan said: "Following extensive discussions between members of the Gloucester Rugby board with regards to the future direction of the playing department, the club has decided to part company with Director of Rugby Nigel Davies.
"It has been a tremendously difficult decision to reach. Nigel is a man who I personally have come to like and respect very much during my time at the club.
“He has worked tirelessly at his role over the past two seasons, he has been an excellent ambassador for the club and understands the expectation and levels we need to be performing at.
"However, playing performances and results during 2013-14 were a big disappointment to everyone at the club,
“As a result, the board has decided that the future interests of the team would be best served with a different individual in charge of team affairs.
"We have clear aspirations to be a top four side and that must drive our decision making process.
"The search for Nigel's successor begins today, and we will leave no stone unturned in our quest to find the right man for the job.
"We believe that the Director of Rugby role at Gloucester Rugby is one of the most prestigious in club rugby, and we're expecting interest from a high calibre of applicants worldwide.
"The player recruitment and retention that we have carried out over the past few months means that the successful applicant will have a top quality squad to work with next season, and they will be joining a club that is in great shape away from the playing field.
"I would like to place on record mine and the rest of the board's thanks to Nigel for his hard work and his contribution over the past two seasons, and wish him well for the future.
“He will always be welcome at Kingsholm, and I have no doubt that he will do a good job wherever he goes from here."
The Gloucester board had previously backed Davies in a report into the failings of this season and detailing the requirements for future success.
With 25 players out of contract Davies performed a major overhaul of the squad, which for the first time was seen to be his, for next season.
The likes of John Afoa, Richard Hibbard and Mariano Galarza put pen to paper as Davies sought to solidify the set-piece while Greig Laidlaw was signed to steer the ship at 10, in the place of Leicester Tigers-bound Freddie Burns.
Laidlaw, predominantly a scrum-half in recent years, was signed as Davies’ front-line fly-half but that thinking could now change with Gloucester potentially moving back into the recruitment market.