‘Deserved win despite poor finish’ – George Skivington

Date published: November 27 2021 - Planet Rugby

Gloucester head coach George Skivington believes his team were worthy winners when they beat Wasps 35-33 on Friday but admitted there was some disappointment in his ranks at the way they finished the encounter.

Gloucester nearly threw away a 23-5 lead as Wasps, aided by Jonny May’s yellow card, launched a late fightback which almost proved successful.

Too little, too late

Wasps actually outscored the Cherry and Whites by five tries to four with Jacob Umaga crossing twice in the game’s dying moments after Gabriel Oghre, Alfie Barbeary and Thomas Young had scored earlier on.

Billy Twelvetrees scored two tries for Gloucester with Jack Clement and May also on the scoresheet for the triumphant visitors – although they nearly saw victory snatched from their grasp in a dramatic final quarter.

Skivington said: “There was some real disappointment as we had a really poor last 15 minutes. A few players went for the big plays to seal victory and we didn’t need it.

“The boys shouldn’t be disappointed as we did enough before that to win the game, which we deserved to do.

“It’s five points on the road and moves us up the league table but that’s not my major concern. It’s more about the group growing by communicating with each other and trying to solve the problems that arise.

“We were squeaky clean in the first half and I don’t think ill-discipline cost us, more a case of taking the wrong options in the final period and us being on the wrong side of the referee when there was a momentum shift in the game.

“We were also disappointed to concede two tries for line-out drives, the first one was well-worked but for the second one, our defence was poor. However we’ve only conceded two in that area all season so we’ve doubled the tally tonight.”

Wasps head coach Lee Blackett was critical of his side’s first-half performance and refused to use their extensive injury problems as an excuse for the result.

Ali Crossdale and Marcus Watson both withdrew from the starting line-up ahead of the game to take Wasps’ casualty list to 19. Matteo Minozzi and Francois Hougaard replaced them, with the South African scrum-half assuming an uncustomary role on the wing.

Blackett said: “It was a disappointing night and a disappointing result. Two points we will take, but we didn’t want two points from this game, we wanted at least double that, if not five points. We’re going to go home and it is going to be a difficult weekend to reflect on that.

“I thought we were poor in the first half. We were very, very sloppy with the ball; I thought defensively we were too soft.”

He added: “It was a factor that we had to use players out of position but we won’t look for any excuses. Franny [Hougaard] went off injured but I thought he played really well on the wing.

“You’ve got to give credit to the way the boys fought back and we had an opportunity to win it but we lost all the collisions in the first half and it wasn’t until the final period that we were able to control possession.”

Denny Solomona leaves Sale Sharks with immediate effect

Meanwhile, England international winger Denny Solomona has parted ways with Sale Sharks with immediate effect, the Premiership club has confirmed.

The 28-year-old joined the club in 2016 after leaving rugby league side Castleford Tigers, inking a four-year contract in 2018 after impressive showings.

However, with that deal due to expire at the end of the season, talks with director of rugby Alex Sanderson and CEO Sid Sutton have led to an early exit.