NIGEL Davies heaped praise on young guns Gareth Evans and Dan Robson for their crucial role in Gloucester’s Heineken Cup win in Perpignan.
Number eight Evans and scrum-half Robson played crucial roles in the Cherry and Whites’ 36-18 victory in Catalonia.
With Freddie Burns back to somewhere near his best, director of rugby Davies was quick to point to the combination between the half-backs and number eight.
Evans helped set up Charlie Sharples for Gloucester’s third try with a scintillating break, while Robson and Burns were a constant menace to Perpignan with their intelligence and industry.
“When your 8-9-10 can hold up defences and put the other guys in space it’s a dangerous combination,” Davies said.
“Dan and Gareth are exceptional. They’re talented players and very young who will only get better.
“Overall it was still a very young pack out there, there’s a lot of potential in that team.
“We’ve weathered that storm with Freddie, he’s come back from it and there’s been confirmation he’s leaving us.
“All those things were factors but the future is clear and he can knuckle down and focus on Gloucester for the rest of the season.
“It was a hard decision and he wants to finish the season on a high.”
Davies was also quick to praise his side’s defensive showing as they stood up to the barrage of French talent, many of whom were built like the proverbial brick out-house.
The forwards set the platform and the backs, who have been rusty in recent weeks, finished in devastating fashion.
Davies said: “We backed ourselves to play rugby and have a go at them. There were a couple of crucial areas where we were second best in the first half but we put it right in the second.
“Defensively we put in a big shift because they were a physical side. They were big men, juggernauts, and you have to play them on the ground. Once we got them on the floor it was easier.
“I was a bit disappointed with the lineout but the scrum was well on top. To come to France and dominate that area is huge. Overall it was still a very young pack out there, there’s a lot of potential in that team.
And Davies believes the quarter-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup will be the perfect place for Gloucester to show that potential in a big match environment.
Gloucester will face Wasps at Adams Park in the last eight in April, with the winner progressing to play either Bath or Brive in the final four.
“To still be in a quarterfinal in Europe is significance for us in two contexts,” Davies said.
“The more exposure we get at this level the better for us, and the confidence and momentum will allow us to go into the next series of fixtures in good shape.
“A quarterfinal against Wasps will be a great occasion and game for us in terms of the development of this squad.
“The more play-offs we get in, the more experience we will gain. That’s when you really start to move forward and win these really big matches.”