Saturday 13 October 2007

Olly Morgan rep. W.Walker;
Leon Lloyd rep.Iain Balshaw. , Mike Tindall rep. Akapusi Qera, Anthony Allen, James Bailey;
Ryan Lamb, Rory Lawson;
Nick Wood rep. Christian Califano , Andy Titterrell rep.Olivier Azam , Carlos Nieto,
Will James rep. Marco Bortolami , Alex Brown,
Peter Buxton (capt), Alasdair Strokosch, Luke Narraway.
Rep: Mike Prendergast,

Pricey's Postscript
I don't know what the agreed game plan was but I'm pretty sure it didn't include the constant kicking away of possession which we witnessed in the first half. It was if it was infectious - first one then another and then another, ad nauseam.
Sale didn't really have a lot to offer but one of their plus points was their ball retention and it seemed that Gloucester were intent on giving them as much practice as possible in perfecting that art.
Time and time again Gloucester broke the Sale defensive line only to gamble on a speculative kick ahead in search of a try rather than rely on support and recycle the ball to continue the attack.
Dean Ryan must have threatened a firing squad to anyone who continued in the madness in the second half and for 20 minutes Gloucester played with the pace and ruthless efficiency that had earned them the previous four wins.
Sadly the final 20 minutes did not match those preceding them.
That said everyone had their good moments, some more than others but only Anthony Allen in the backs had a good all round game.

J.G.P.- 14/10/2007
Match Reports- 2007-08

Cherry and Whites make it five from five
Gloucester miss bonus point
Gloucester 31 Sale 12

But why oh why in the first half, did Gloucester kick away precious possession with predictable monotonous regularity?
There is nothing wrong with a kicking game. It can be an astute tactic but as employed by Gloucester it was all too often inefficient and ineffective.
A kicking game has to be accurate to be profitable but all too often Gloucester’s kicking game failed to find touch and secure territory.
For long periods, especially in the early stages, the key axis of Rory Lawson and Ryan Lamb did not perform. Lamb is not renowned for his kicking out of hand and against Sale did little to improve the situation and Lawson looked painfully short of match practice.
It must be understood that Lamb was not the only culprit with the boot as too many other players struggled with poor kicks down-field. Generally the home side’s play was shapeless and disjointed compared with their game at Leicester with too much individual enterprise with only instances of cohesive team play.
The Cherry and Whites, unbeaten at the top of the Guinness Premiership table, could only manage four penalties from Lamb during the first half whereas Sale somehow managed to score two tries.
Fortunately for the home side Sale’s Charlie Hodgson, unlike the previous week against Wasps, did not have his best kicking boots on and missed penalties and attempted drop kicks.
The visitors were severely hampered by the loss of their heavyweight forwards on R.W.C duty and Gloucester’s pack began to build momentum but were let down by indifferent finishing. However Sale did get the first score of the afternoon when prop Benoit Bourrust emerged from a ruck to almost sneak over the line with scarcely a hand being laid on him. Hodgson’s attempted conversion hit the post.
Lamb also missed his first kick at goal but then put Gloucester into the lead with four penalties before Sale broke away to snatch a sharp try on the stroke of half time through Oriol Ripol which levelled the scores at 12-12
Gloucester pack did begin to exert some authority after the break and Sale were content to offend to slow the ball down before eventually their lock Sean Cox was sin-binned.
Gloucester made the visitors pay with two tries from wing Leon Lloyd thanks to Nick Wood in the first instance, followed by good work from Anthony Allen and Mike Tindall for the second try.
With the score now at 24-12 Gloucester were going forward with more purpose and when replacement hooker Ollie Azam turned the ball over Ryan Lamb was able to find replacement winger Iain Balshaw on the wing and he made ground before he put full back Olly Morgan away to score.
Restored to full strength, Sale mounted a period of sustained pressure with many phases of possession but to their credit the Gloucester defence held firm.
At 31 –12 Gloucester were within sight of a bonus try but although Anthony Allen appeared to have put Balshaw in for a score his pass was adjudged to be forward.
There was no shortage of effort from Gloucester in the dying minutes but too many hurried solo efforts and the opportunities were missed.
Will James got through a lot of hard work and once again Gloucester’s front row was on top with both Titterrell’s all round play and Azam’s physical power conspicuous in tight and loose. Such is their form it does beg the question whether the signing of Australian Jeremy Paul was absolutely necessary?
Gloucester’s pack is shaping up very nicely but behind the scrum against Sale the backs looked like a collection of players rather than a ‘collective’.
A curate's egg of a match for Gloucester.
Some parts were good, whilst other parts were very much not so good but the Cherry and Whites are still unbeaten and still winning without being able to put together a full eighty minutes of error –free rugby.
Not one of the better performances from Gloucester at Kingsholm. It was very much a case of a bonus point that got away.

Tries - Lloyd (2) Morgan
Conversion - Lamb (2) Penalties- Lamb (4)

Referee - A.Rowden
Attendance - 14,075