‘Tis the season to be jolly’, unless you happen to be a long-suffering Gloucester Rugby supporter. It was not just the dank dismal weather that was depressing, the rugby this season has also been a wash-out as the Cherry and Whites slumped to their fifth defeat at Kingsholm.
Gone are the days when you turned up at Kingsholm expecting to win—now it is very much a case of hoping against hope that victory might, just might, be achieved. Visiting teams expect to win as Gloucester are now looked upon as a soft touch.
On current form even bottom of the Premiership table, Worcester must be looking forward to next week and licking their lips with anticipation at the prospect of their first win of the season.
This present Gloucester side, good on paper but lacks confidence and looks like a collection of individual novice mis-fits trying to get to grips with a game they have rarely played before, rather than a team of professional sportsmen. They totally failed to come to terms with the wet and windy weather conditions, all too often opting for hopefully hoofing the ball up in the air with poorly directed kicks, losing possession and ground and reluctant to put the ball through the hands to establish territory and build pressure.
Possession is key. No side can expect run in tries from deep on a wet pitch. Common sense.
Talk of a kick-start to the season fell remarkably short as Gloucester continue to lack rugby nous to manage their game - more like mis-management as they struggled to put any meaningful phases together with mistakes, conceding penalties and turn-overs a'plenty.
The Edinburgh defence was more than equal to their task and their whole side adapted better to the conditions than the hosts.
Disappointing after winning at Murrayfield but the better side won and effectively the result marks the end of the road for this season’s Heineken Cup.
Frustrating for the Kingsholm faithful but despite a reasonable share of possession limited Gloucester were quite unable to take advantage and all they had to show for their desperate efforts was a solitary penalty try from a well executed driving maul but that was it, save for a Freddie Burns penalty, whereas Edinburgh managed to manufacture a try to add to three well taken penalties from full back Jack Cuthbert.
Next week’s Premiership fixture with Worcester has all the hallmarks of a crunch relegation match and at the moment it will require a lot of hard work plus more spirit and inspiration if the Cherry and Whites are to turn things round but at present there is little real expectation.
The team is struggling and although major signings for next season are welcome, the remaider of this season is a real challenge.
Perhaps the talk of players coming and going is now having an unsettling influence but you cannot help but think that some are just not good enough at this level.
Gloucester's young England hopefuls did little to catch the eye or impress
on a dark dismal day.
Looking ahead it is difficult to see when and where the next win is coming from.
Disappointed but no longer shocked or angry – I never thought that I would have so few emotions after a Gloucester game but after a time you get to live with it. Gloucester’s performance on Sunday afternoon lacked skill, guile, savvy and any sense of passion. Team selection has the randomness of a lottery draw; the only difference with the National Lottery is that they tell you which set of numbers are being used and the name of the machine the balls are drawn from.
On the bright side the game plan remained a closely guarded secret from the Edinburgh squad although there appeared to be quite a few Gloucester players missed the briefing, too. My only regret was that I didn’t miss the match!
Now is a time for a few kicks up the backsides of what is an under achieving squad.
Today saw two poor teams, but one played and the other didn't turn up. I don't mind Gloucester losing as long as they play with PRIDE & PASSION, but today and for most of this season there was/has not been any PRIDE or PASSION on the pitch. Players need to earn the right to wear the Cherry & White shirt and wear it with PRIDE.
Today should have been a bonus point win and top of the group and a real chance of progress to the next round, unfortunately those next round dates have been crossed out of my diary.
Nobody seems to know what is happening on the pitch and there is no natural leader and no game plan, or if there is nobody seems to be able to implement it. I think today's game is best forgotten and move on to the next two weeks; two must win games. A few egos need deflating, the supporters who turn up week after week deserve a performance worthy of what was and still can be, a great club.
Dean Ryan must be looking forward to next weeks return to Kingsholm and hoping the Gloucester of today turn up. The team need to put today behind them and come out and give the supporters a game to remember, a game full of PRIDE & PASSION.
Martyn Thomas, Henry Trinder, Billy Twelvetrees, Jonny May;
Freddie Burns, Tavis Knoyle;
Yann Thomas, Darren Dawidiuk, Shaun Knight;
Elliott Stooke, James Hudson;
Sione Kalamafoni, Matt Kvesic, Ben Morgan
Huia Edmonds, Dan Murphy, Sila Puafisi, Tom Hicks, Matt Cox, Dan Robson, Mike Tindall, Charlie Sharples