10:45am Tuesday 31st December 2013
By SNJ Sport
Gloucester Rugby director of rugby Nigel Davies insists his side can breathe a little easier after pulling further away from the bottom of the Aviva Premiership with a 22-19 victory away to London Irish.
Irish had the first and the last word on the contest and also outscored the visitors by three tries to one but it was the Cherry and Whites who controlled much of the match.
Davies’ side led 16-7 at the break thanks to a try from Jonny May and the boot of stand-in fly-half Billy Twelvetrees.
Fergus Mulchrone had crossed for Irish’s first try on 63 seconds and Eamonn Sheridan crossed twice in the second half to set up a pulsating finish.
But after holding on to claim the win and move 18 points clear of bottom side Worcester Warriors, Davies is looking upwards.
“It is pretty stressful at the moment with this lot, they were great and if you look at the games we have lost we have been in control for large periods,” he said.
“We have built a little bit of momentum with a few wins and that takes a bit of pressure off and we have a huge fixture against Saracens next weekend.
“It is something that we are very keen to do, to go back to the core values of Gloucester Rugby and marry that with an all-round game as well because we have some very good strike runners.”
London Irish had the chance to level the match in the closing stages but Shane Geraghty was off target with his penalty attempt.
The defeat leaves Irish just one place but ten points clear of Worcester at the bottom but director of rugby Brian Smith believes the second-half showing offers reason for optimism.
“We outscored them 3-1 on the try count so there are definitely positives to take out of it,” he said.
“We made a really bright start and scored from our first possession really but just prior to half-time we couldn’t complete a set.
“We conceded some cheap penalties and it cost us. I was very proud of the effort from the lads in the second half.
“We had some words at half time and it wasn’t the way we wanted it to go and it is difficult to turn momentum around when things are on the slide.
“The boys did that and we got some fresh legs on in the second half and those boys put their hands up.
“It’s desperately disappointing, we had a shot at goal to square it up and that would have been a pretty good result for us to get out with a draw after trailing by ten points at one stage.”
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