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Nigel Davies refuses to concede Gloucester Rugby's race for Europe is over

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 20, 2014

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Nigel Davies insists Gloucester will fight to the bitter end in their quest to secure top-tier European rugby.

Saturday’s defeat to London Wasps at Twickenham put a major dent in their bid to finish lucky number seven in the Premiership to book a play-off for the final spot in the Rugby Champions Cup.

Wasps are now in the driving seat, seven points clear of ninth-placed Gloucester, but Davies is in no mood to give up.

They face London Irish at Kingsholm at the beginning of May before finishing the season against basement boys Worcester Warriors.

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Davies said: “You can never say never and points-wise we can still do it, but Wasps are playing well.

“It’s going to be tough but we will give it a go. We have a reasonable run-in and all we can do is go out there and try to pick up as much as we can.”

But Davies is well aware the Cherry and Whites cannot afford another performance fraught with such defensive frailties if they are to have any chance.

They shipped five tries in the Stinger as they collectively missed a shocking 24 tackles.

Davies admits the defensive display was unacceptable and he has also lamented the misfiring lineout, which has previously been a solid source.

He added: “There were too many first-up missed tackles, and particularly the one just before half-time from a lineout, those are the situations you just have to be able to defend against.

“That was hugely frustrating and the other thing is our lineout didn’t function at all, it didn’t give us a platform to play off and that was a big factor.

“First-up missed tackles, the ineffectiveness of our lineout and inability to play off it were the two main factors and I can’t look much beyond that.

“There were elements of the performance that were good but again they brought a physicality at times with their big ball carriers which put us under pressure.”

Wasps were not much better in terms of defence and Gloucester had several opportunities in the second half.

But their failure to capitalise on Will Helu’s yellow card just a minute after the restart was costly and Davies’ reinforcements from the bench lacked any real impact as streetwise Wasps strangled the Cherry and Whites.

He added: “When we had our starting pack on it was fine, it was a good contest and the sides were evenly matched, but we came under some pressure when we made changes, which was disappointing.

“There are fine margins and around the contact area we weren’t always able to get the speed of ball we wanted partly because their tacklers weren’t always releasing.

“But you’ve got to be able to deal with that and fundamentally there was a lot of effort and a lot of endeavour but the two key ingredients we were lacking.”

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  • ostronsgreg23  |  April 23 2014, 7:40PM

    And that game agianst Wasps, ladies and gentlemen, is an abject lesson in precisely what happens when your first choice and best tight head, Rupҽrt Hardҽn, is left sat on the bench, and there is no adequate back up for him. Mullered in scrum after scrum in the first half and early second half until Harden came on.

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