Once again the limitations of the Cherry and Whites were exposed by a resolute Worcester team who were nothing like the soft touch of some of the other Championship sides promoted in recent years.
Despite long periods of domination up front and plentiful possession Gloucester were unable to make the pressure count and turn it into points and were so nearly caught out when their visitors broke out from defence.
On the evidence so far this season, Gloucester’s mid-field defence is not consistently reliable enough and the backs lack genuine creativity to trouble the well organised defences.
For once the hosts made a good start when James Hook planted a penalty close to the Worcester line and from the resultant line out Richard Hibbard was driven over within three minutes .
But in typical Gloucester fashion they immediately gave away the softest of tries when a wretched loose pass from Bill Meakes was telegraphed so well that Worcester winger Cooper Vuna gratefully intercepted the gift chance to cross under the posts. The easy conversion put Worcester in front.
Gloucester again tried the tactic of a penalty to the corner but this time the Worcester defence held firm before Billy Twelvetrees kicked a penalty. This was followed up by a good try as sharp handling and a fine sweeping move allowed Sione Kalamafoni to cross for their second try. Twelvetrees again missed the conversion but did kick a penalty.
However spirited Worcester hit back as Ryan Mills kicked a long range penalty before a driving maul saw hooker Niall Annett driven over for their second try and the conversion put the visitors back in front. Another Twelevetrees penalty edged Gloucester back into a deserved lead before he hit the upright with a long range penalty attempt. Half-time 19-17.
Gloucester had the better of the early second-half exchanges but were quite unable to score before the visitors broke away from inside their own half for Vuna to add his second try and put Worcester back in the lead 19-22.
A lack lustre Twelvetrees was replaced by Billy Burns and this sparked Gloucester into action and when he broke the defensive line, Charlie Sharples made ground to send Tongan winger David Halafonua over in the corner for a very good try. 24-22.
It was all Gloucester going into the final quarter but the bonus try eluded them as a Jonny May score was disallowed by a very dubious decision for a forward pass controversially called by the touch judge with no referall to TMO, before a series of four set scrums saw Worcester penalised each time but there was no penalty try forthcoming and the sin-binning of a prop was of no benefit with the introduction of un-contested scrums.
Gloucester opted for a line out but promptly lost their ball and Worcester broke away before an infringement denied them a late chance of a winning score.
The Cherry and Whites scrum is now competitive with the pack’s prospects steadily improving but behind the backs need to create more options with a good deal more enterprise and flair and not rely so much upon the continued salvos of aerial bombardment.
I left the stadium today, happy with the win but very unhappy with the
performance. I thought it was a slap dash affair lacking accuracy, shape
and discipline but above all there is a lack of leadership from the
senior players. As a result the many attacks Gloucester launched seemed
to flounder in disarray, more often or not to a wishful grubber kick.
Last year the lack of pre-season consolidation was the excuse.
season Gloucester benefited from an extended run up to the league
campaign but it seems that basic skills were ignored as was mental
preparation. Dropped passes and lack of steel prevail. The habit of
conceding daft penalties in non-threatening areas continues resulting in
dramatic loss of field position. The problem in my opinion lies with
the coaching team and more precisely the head honcho, Laurie Fisher.
Time will tell as it always does but I fear this will be another “wait till next season” year.
J.G.P. 2 .11.2015
More From Mike
Well I suppose a win is a win and 9 points from a possible 12 looks quite good, but the truth is a totally different story.
Although winning 2 out of 3 matches and getting a losing bonus point against Sarries, Glos cannot hide the fact that they have been very ordinary and very lucky in winning their two games, and lost to a poor Sarries side. Both wins could easily have been losses, especially yesterday against Worcester. A lack lustre performance by the backs meant it was the forwards who took any honours there were with a solid scrummaging performance, which should have been the basis of a higher winning score.
The game started well with Glos scoring the first try only to gift Worcs a simple 7 points from the drop out. The pendulum continued to swing from one side to another, and the performance of our star studded backs was being questioned by a strong Worcs side. Both centres were poor, one maybe able to excuse Twelvetrees as he has a new baby at home, which may be causing him sleepless nights, but more performances like this and it will be the supporters who will be having the sleepless nights. All too often the receiver from a ruck was a forward and not a fast line-breaking centre or wing.
The crucial change came with the introduction of Billy Burns for Twelvetrees; Glos seemed to have more get up and go and it was Burns' quick movement that led to Glos third try and the promise of more to come. Despite continued scrum pressure near to the Worcs line nothing more came and it was Worcs who nearly stole the show with a break away in the last few minutes.
A lucky win. A much improved performance will be needed next Sunday away to Wasps. Some basic catching practice is needed in training.
David Halaifonua, Billy Twelvetrees (capt), Bill Meakes, Jonny May;
James Hook, Willi Heinz;
Paddy McAllister, Richard Hibbard, John Afoa;
Tom Savage, Sione Kalamafoni;
Ross Moriarty, Matt Kvesic, Ben Morgan
Replacements: Chris Brooker,Yann Thomas, Paul Doran-Jones, Elliott Stooke, Jacob Rowan,
Billy Burns, Callum Braley, Steve McColl,
Tries: Hibbard, Kalamafoni, Halaifonua
Pen: Twelvetrees (3)
Referee - Craig Maxwell-Keys
Attendance - 12,749
Gloucester Matches - Match Reports - 2001-2015
Gloucester Matches - Premiership - Kingsholm Record
Gloucester Matches - Premiership - Kingsholm Attendances
Gloucester Matches - Premiership Record v Worcester
Gloucester Matches - Match Reports v Worcester