GLOUCESTER Rugby forwards coach Carl Hogg admitted the Cherry and Whites had one eye on their return Aviva Premiership clash with Northampton Saints after falling to defeat at Franklin’s Gardens in the LV= Cup, writes Tom Reynolds.

Tries from Luther Burrell and Alex Waller – plus eight kicked points each from Stephen Myler and Ryan Lamb – saw the Saints do their qualification hopes no harm at all with a 26-7 win.

In contrast defeat leaves Gloucester – with their points coming from Ryan Mills’ converted try – out of the competition having won one of their three encounters.

However, for Hogg defeat came second to their goal of blooding youngsters and keeping their powder dry ahead of a return to Northampton when the Aviva Premiership action gets back underway in two weekends’ time.

“It’s a week closer to returning to the Premiership and we’ve got Bath before coming back to play Northampton in the league,” said Hogg.

“It’s sometimes difficult because what you don’t want to do is show your full hand. You don’t want to show all the things you might run in the Premiership.

“It was always about giving opportunities to young guys and returning players and we’re mindful of the fact in two weeks’ time we’ve got to come back here.

“Professional players need to play the game and sometimes they don’t get the exposure they would like.

“Nigel Davies (director of rugby) is very trusting and confident in the players we’ve got and we do expose a lot of players to LV= Cup level or even Premiership level. That engenders a real good feelgood factor in the squad.

“There’s no back-up group and hopefully come the end of the season that will stand us in good stead.”

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