Gloucester
Olly Morgan,
Iain Balshaw, ),
Matthew Watkins, Olly Barkley, James Simpson-Daniel;
Willie Walker, Gareth Cooper;
Alasdair Dickinson, Olivier Azam, Carlos Nieto, Will James, Alex Brown,
Alasdair Strokosch, Apo Satala, Luke Narraway.
Reps: Nick Wood, Andy Titterrell, Scot Lawson, Adam Eustace,
Rory Lawson, Anthony Allen,.Mark Foster

Try Simpson-Daniel
Conv. Barkley
Penaly - Barkley

Referee - A. Lewis (Ireland)
Attendance - 7,000

This Season's Reports - GLOUCESTER Matches. 2008-2009
Heineken Cup Record

Gloucester's hopes sink in the mud

Euro trip meets sticky end

Parc Aguilera - Friday 23 January 2009
Biarritz 24 Gloucester 10

Gloucester’s seasonal European trip sank in the mud again.
Last week’s Kingsholm mud was overshadowed by this week’s atrocious conditions in Biarritz where heavy, driving rain forced another pitch inspection and the Cherry and Whites suffered another mauling in the mud.
Gloucester are a decent-enough outfit at present against the average Premiership team but are some way short of top class against better sides when it matters.
Biarritz too have been an enigma in European and French rugby of late but they raised their game to deny Gloucester any chance of emerging from the Pool stages with better wet-weather rugby.
Yet again the same problems which have haunted Gloucester’s faltering season are all too evident.
The light-weight pack may contain talented individuals but as a unit they do not pose a serious threat. As against Cardiff the previous week there was no lack of endeavour but again Gloucester were second -best in the physical encounters.
Behind the scrum problems at half-back are clear for all to see. Olly Barkley, Ryan Lamb and Willie Walker have all been tried at 10 but each has limitations. Likewise at scrum-half. No one seems capable of controlling the game.
Last season there was flexibility, flair and creativity. This season ambition seems to have been abandoned or limited for more conservative safety-first negativity.

Perhaps more crucially, it is the coaches' structured tactics which dictate how the side plays which are wrong, whatever, the fact remains this season the team is failing.
The poorly executed obsessive kicking game was no better. It can be acceptable with a player having the kicking ability of Ludo, who could be relied upon to gain territory but although right for the conditions, kicking hopefully down-field to a talented player such as Damien Traille, who not surprisingly generally returned his kicks with interest, was not the best part of any game-plan.
In marked contrast former Gloucester scrum half Dimitri Yachvilli basically ran the show for Biarritz and looked in a class on his own.
It was his inspirational play that enabled the home side to build up a lead from the start that was too much for Gloucester to counter. He kicked an early penalty and then drove the visitors back to their own line, Gloucester’s line out went all wrong when a long throw to the tail was seized by Harinordoquy who forced his way over.
Why no short throw in such conditions remains a mystery.
Yachvilli added the conversion and things got even worse for the visitors as he then put in a brilliant chip through and followed up to dive on the ball for the second try. His conversion took the score to 17—0 with only twenty minutes played. Gloucester did pull themselves together and some sharp handling enabled James Simpson-Daniel to thread his way through for a try, Olly Barkley added the conversion and kicked a penalty to give some hope.
Iain Balshaw looked to be in for a score when he chased his kick-ahead but was cynically tripped by Traille. He was sin-binned and that was as near as Gloucester got to adding another try.
Gloucester’s fate was effectively sealed when soon after half-time Willie Walker delayed a routine clearance kick and it was charged down by opposite number Julien Peyrelongue to score.
Barkley replaced Walker at fly half but it made no difference despite hard work from Luke Narraway, Gloucester were unable to create the opening to break down the hosts’ defence.
It all finished with worrying injuries to locks Will James and Alex Brown to add to the growing casualty list as the Cherry and Whites slipped out of contention.
On present form London Irish will be looking forward to extending Gloucester's losing run without too much trouble.
It's the Cherry and Whites who seem to have the troubles.
T.H - - 24/1/2008 - Fireside

Pricey's Pitchside Postscript -
I had more success in Biarritz understanding the French language than comprehending Gloucester's game plan and objectives for the last pool game of this season's Heineken Cup.
The post-match comments from Dean Ryan haven't helped either when he claimed that Gloucester ran the ball too much rather than kicking it. It seems that to win at rugby, according to the Gospel of DR, possession is less important than field position; that the latter is never achieved because Gloucester have no one able to execute the plan and perhaps more importantly the opposition prefer possession to where they are on the field.
The result is even more perverse - the opposition run the ball at us and when successful they score tries and when they fail and lose possession we merely kick the ball back to let them try again. Sinbad must have got one hell of a bollocking from DR at half time for not following the game plan by showing flair pace and running skill to score his try. Iain Balshaw probably escaped sanction for his blood rush of flair because he actually kicked the ball and was fouled before he could commit the cardinal sin of picking the ball up again and running with it. Dean must have been delighted with the second half performance though because Gloucester reverted to plan and never looked liked scoring again.
The sub plots of the chosen game plan are even more mind boggling. Forwards are not used for winning the ball but are spread across the pitch to keep the ball away from their petulant three quarters colleagues by fighting to become first receiver from the scrum half.
Time, it is said, is a great healer - I can't wait for the close season so I can forget. I used to enjoy watching Gloucester play and whilst I preferred to watch a winning side to a losing one I always held the belief that things would get better if we lost. Not any more because, perhaps, deep down I know that the same busted and failed tactics and game plan will be deployed until DR leaves of his own accord to take over and revolutionise the England Sevens Squad.
J.G.P - 26.1/2009