Gloucester head coach George Skivington was relieved to come away with a win and collect five valuable points in a hard-fought 36-23 victory over a battling London Irish at Kingsholm.

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Irish had led midway through the second half but Gloucester pulled away with three tries in the final quarter to virtually seal their spot in next season’s European Champions Cup competition.

Gloucester’s tries came from Ollie Thorley, Louis Rees-Zammit, Jack Stanley, Stephen Varney and Lloyd Evans with Evans adding a penalty and two conversions. Billy Twelvetrees also converted two.

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Irish responded with tries from Ollie Hassell-Collins and Agustin Creevy with Paddy Jackson kicking three penalties and two conversions.

Skivington said: “It was a really scrappy game in parts and sometimes those sorts of games go against you so I’m very happy with the win and it’s good to take all the points.

“The guys took their chances well but we needed to be more clinical from the start as when we get it right and are accurate, the boys out wide take some stopping.

“We were heavily penalised at the breakdown but we are doing our best in training to learn how to avoid penalties.”

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Next up for Gloucester is a daunting trip to Sandy Park on Wednesday to face runaway league leaders Exeter and Skivington said: “It’s an extremely difficult task, whatever team we put out. I will be looking for some real character from our boys.

“On pitches like this and with the higgly-piggly nature of this season, it’s hard to ask guys to play within four days so the coaches will sit down tonight and assess what we will do for Wednesday.

“Danny (Cipriani) was rested today as he’s played a lot of rugby since the restart.”

Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney was frustrated with his side’s inability to take advantage of key moments in the game.

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He said: “I wouldn’t say it was our best performance since the restart as we always want to win and I was frustrated by our inability to finish off a number of chances.

“I know we can be a lot better and will be so in the future but there were positives from us as we still fronted up in the set piece and in other areas against a strong side.

“There’s definite improvement and we are going in the right direction but I’m disappointed that we conceded two tries from two set-pieces as we shouldn’t be doing that.”

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