Humphreys defends short turnaround time

Date published: January 2 2017

The short festive turnaround between games is not to blame for Gloucester's defeat to Northampton, says Director of Rugby David Humphreys.

Saints were awarded a controversial penalty try six minutes from time which took the wind out of Gloucester's sails as they suffered a narrow 13-12 defeat at Kingholm.

Humphreys told Gloucestershire Live his team's 28-14 loss to Quins five days prior should not be used as an excuse for their third defeat in all competitions.

"It is huge credit to the players who played five days ago to be able to come out and produce a performance which was where we defended really well and we were really physically dominant for large parts of the game," Humphreys said.

"We knew the challenge of a five-day turnaround, playing in this competition – especially in those conditions – and the bodies were still a bit battered and bruised.

"But I am not sure we will blame that for losing – we had a couple of opportunities and we now have to get ourselves ready on a six-day turnaround for Worcester."

The penalty try decision may well have swung victory in Saints' favour, but it was not the only key moment to have a say on the final outcome.

Ben Morgan's try was disallowed by the TMO midway through the second half, but Humphreys said the players thought it was a legitimate try.

"We don't necessarily focus too much on the penalty try decision, because there were a couple of other opportunities and we are disappointed we did not finish off the period of pressure we had just before that when Ben Morgan believes he was over the line," Humphreys explained.

"Unfortunately there were not enough camera angles to prove it, but I think you can gauge by the reaction from all of the players around it that they felt he had scored a try. So that was probably a turning point in the game, and for 60/65 minutes in pretty awful conditions both overhead and under foot, we played the game exactly as we set out to do and there was a huge sense of frustration and disappointment that we did not manage to close the game out.

"It is a conversation we have had maybe six or seven times throughout the course of the year – we know how close we are. We know for large parts of every game we have played in we have been dominant, and we have dominated the scoreboard but have not managed to close out the games, and that has been a huge frustration for us.

"It is something we have spent a lot of time talking about and making a plan for when we want to do that and today getting a yellow card and going down to 14 men obviously it becomes much harder to chase the game when the weather makes the pitch like that.

"That is why having a lead going into that last ten minutes we felt it was key, but we just could not get enough ball to really close the game out."