Planet Rugby

Gloucester sent crashing out

23rd January 2009 21:42

Share:

Olly Barkley against Biarritz

Held out: Gloucester were not up to the challenge

Gloucester, needing to win with a bonus-point to make the Heineken Cup quarter-finals, came up alarmingly short at the Parc Aguilera, losing 24-10 to a streetwise Biarritz outfit.

Despite needing four tries, and a win, Gloucester never looked like coming away from a wet and windy night with the spoils. From basic handling errors to poor kicking, the opening twenty minutes put paid to any hopes Gloucester had.

Biarritz set their stall out early on, going through several phases in the pouring rain. The result was a penalty for offside, which Dimitri Yachvili dispatched with ease. That was followed by a sweeping length of the field attack that took a despairing Iain Balshaw tackle to halt. The chips were down and Gloucester were failing to step up to the plate, once again.

Olivier Azam, as early as the fifth minute, cracked under the pressure of a five metre defensive line-out, which cost Gloucester dear. A series of close drives paid dividends when the resurgent Imanol Harinordoquy blundered over from short range. Yachvili slotted the conversion and suddenly Gloucester were staring down the barrel.

It took just six minutes for Gloucester to pull the trigger and blow their fading Heineken Cup hopes out of the water. Yachvili was the tormentor in chief, gathering his own chip ahead to slide over. If that wasn't enough he gathered himself to put another arrow through Gloucester's hearts, sending over the conversion with ease.

Sensing more than just their European hopes were on the line - Dean Ryan has already hinted at looking elsewhere for players - Gloucester responded with the kind of try they score time and again on the training paddock. Matthew Watkins showed silky feet to free James Simpson-Daniel; life in the old dogs yet?

Not even the loss of Apo Satala, sent to the sin-bin for hands in the ruck, stopped the fightback - Barkley adding a penalty to his earlier conversion to trim the gap to a converted try. T

he five hundred travelling Gloucester supporters were incensed when Balshaw went down under Damien Traille's challenge chasing a kick that would have led to a certain try. Traille was yellow-carded, no points were scored - justice of a kind, for contact between traille and Balshaw was minimal.

Biarritz weathered the storm as Traille watched on, and once restored to a full complement took no time at all in adding to the size of Gloucester's mountain. Willie Walker's kick was charged down by Julien Peyrelongue, the fly-half able to round the job off with the score.

The most frustrating aspect of this Gloucester display, which again was simply not good enough, was their desire to kick the ball for the opening sixty minutes. They were chasing four tries, yet seemed content to chase endless, and aimless, kicks down field. Dean Ryan may well be chasing a few out of Kingsholm this summer.

So another dismal Gloucester campaign comes to a premature end, leaving us all once again asking the question, 'will Gloucester ever deliver on the big stage?' The honest truth, based on the past six European games, is a resounding no. As to where Dean Ryan goes from here, one may suggest he entertains the idea of looking for employment elsewhere, as his talent is being wasted at present.

The scorers:

For Biarritz:

Tries: Harinordoquy, Yachvili, Peyrelongue

Cons: Yachvili 3

Pen: Yachvili

For Gloucester:

Try: Simpson-Daniel

Con: Barkley

Pen: Barkley

Yellow card: Satala (Gloucester, 20th minute - hands in the ruck), Traille (Biarritz, 34th minute - professional foul), Thion (Biarritz, 75th minute - punching).

The teams:

Biarritz: 15 Nicolas Brusque, 14 Philippe Bidabe, 13 Romain Cabannes, 12 Damien Traille, 11 Takudzwa Ngwenya, 10 Julien Peyrelongue, 9 Dimitri Yachvili, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Trevor Hall, 6 Samiu Vahafolau, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 CÚsar Damiani, 3 Campbell Johnstone, 2 Benoit August, 1 Fabien Barcella.

Replacements: 16 Eduard Coetzee, 17 Benoit Bourrust, 18 JÚr˘me Thion, 19 Pe´o Som, 20 Andrea Masi, 21 Laurent Tranier, 22 Ilikena Bolakoro.

Gloucester: 15 Olly Morgan, 14 Iain Balshaw, 13 Matthew Watkins, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Willie Walker, 9 Gareth Cooper, 8 Luke Narraway, 7 Apo Satala, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Alex Brown, 4 Will James, 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Olivier Azam, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.

Replacements: 16 Nick Wood, 17 Andy Titterrell, 18 Marco Bortolami, 19 Adam Eustace, 20 Rory Lawson, 21 Anthony Allen, 22 Jack Forster.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Touch judges: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales), Jonathan Mason (Wales)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale13:00
Castres vs Leinster15:15
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles19:45
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Brive vs Zebre19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade FrancaisTBC
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615