Gloucester Rugby Head Coach George Skivington has praised the attitude of his young side’s performance after a tough 59-24 loss away to Harlequins.
The hosts secured a bonus point within half an hour with tries from Luke Northmore, Mike Brown, Cadan Murley and Danny Care leaving the Cherry and Whites stunned.
However, they got a foothold in the game before half time with a try from scrum half Charlie Chapman before an incredible comeback to draw the scores level in the opening 15 minutes of the second half.
Tries from captain for the day Matt Garvey and another for Chapman created a fascinating contest before Quins showed their quality to pull away with five second half tries.
Veteran centre Matt Banahan was sent off late on after a high tackle on Tyrone Green to reduce Gloucester to 14 men for the third time in five weeks.
Despite the big score line, Skivington was happy with the fight shown by his side.
“It was going to be more about character than result today and I have no problem with the boy’s character, and I said that to them after the game. I thought if we did not give 100%, there would be an issue,” said Skivington
“Today we had 11 academy lads on the field, and I think we created enough opportunities to score tries but they learnt some valuable lessons. It is painful to swallow when you lose but I know how I am managing it through, and it is what it is.”
However, the Gloucester boss isn’t distracted by the nature in which his side conceded early on.
“That is what hurt us the most in the opening period as that was down to a couple of players shortening down our defence which was our own doing. Quins are a quality side, and we know they can finish tries from everywhere.”
Skivington continued: “That was the disappointing section of the game because when we look at ourselves defensively, we did not do what we set out to do. That is the bit that really cost us. The fight back in was brilliant when we got it to 24 all. The back end of the game there was a lot of experience learnt there but learnt the hard way.”
“If I thought there was an issue with anyone’s character I would scream and shout a little bit. I thought the boys worked unbelievably hard with the young lads coming on and the energy they brought. It was not necessarily accurate, but it was energetic. They are a tight unit; they are growing and have played rugby together as kids. That is their exposure and learning. There is no point getting down. I would’ve liked to Knick the bonus point and if we had scored at the end it would have been what they deserved but it wasn’t to be.”
Banahan’s red was another of the nature that we have seen so frequently throughout the recent rounds of the Premiership as referee’s look to clamp down on contact with the head. Skivington believes that at the end of the day referee Ian Tempest came out with the right decision according to the laws but feels that rugby is entering dangerous territory.
“I wouldn’t debate that it is a red card, but we do seem to get the wrong side of the decisions lately. You watch a game of rugby at the moment, and they could be sending everybody off. That is what it is, and I am not going to argue either way. If we stop every incident in a rugby game, there will be no one left on the pitch.” Skivington explained.
Gloucester face a tough period in the coming two weeks as they face domestic and European champions Exeter Chiefs before a Heineken Champions Cup last 16 game against Top 14 side La Rochelle.