RUGBY

Gloucester not quite title contenders, but the best of the rest in the hunt for Exeter and Saracens

Following the defeat to Exeter Chiefs and having already suffered a loss at the hands of Saracens this season Gloucester lie in fourth place with a gap of 15 points between them and second place. Robert Rees takes a look at where they are in progress under Ackermann and just how far they are off being title contenders.

Lacklustre results against top two leave title charge to be desired

Disappointing performances and results against the runaway top two of Exeter and Saracens has left many a Cherry and Whites supporter frustrated. Looking so good against the rest of the league yet unable to apply any real pressure against the two sides that will be the benchmark to beat. The playoff system ensures that they’ll have a one off crack at the sides around them in order to win their first Premiership title, but they currently seem off the pace in terms of the run in to the playoffs.

A good start against Exeter wasn’t enough as the Chiefs fought back to score 23 unanswered points to seal the win. If Gloucester are to compete consistently they’ll need to keep up the physicality and accuracy of the first half against Leicester and the opening quarter against the Chiefs. All too often they fall short in games because they have switched off and not performed for 80 minutes. Something the league leaders are good at.

Squad depth not an issue

Despite a mammoth injury list and several suspensions this season the squad depth hasn’t proved an issue and won’t do going forwards with plenty of depth across the board. Johan Ackermann has built a strong squad a good ethos at Kingsholm and with the academy players being well utilised they can have a good campaign if they cut down the errors and play more consistently.

Adding injury cover and bringing up academy players into the first team has worked well and if Ackermann can get his side to click in the big games then Gloucester will finally become major title contenders.

 

Worcester game a chance for redemption

Gloucester face the Worcester Warriors this weekend at Kingsholm and ahead of a tricky European block of fixtures and will be hoping to return to winning ways. Worcester will pose a good threat as they’ve found some good form in both domestic and European competitions and have plenty of in-form players. A win will be crucial to keeping top four aspirations alive heading into Christmas with the Champions Cup soon to take over priorities.

Gloucester will feel that they have enough to overcome the Warriors and a win at Kingsholm should be on the cards if they perform near to the first half performance of Leicester. Despite losing a spot to Wasps over the weekend their performances so far this season have quite clearly been the ‘best of the rest’ and it will put them in good stead going forwards.

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Back on home soil this weekend with @WorcsWarriors the visitors to Kingsholm.

Don’t miss out on a crucial #GallagherPrem game!

🎟 https://t.co/PBLHKqAlwR pic.twitter.com/nOLTXXu023

β€” Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) 26 November 2018

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