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Billy Twelvetrees: 'Ed started pre-season with us and and nine months on he’s really struggling. Jesus Christ.'

The former England and Lions centre, leaves Kingsholm a legend after over a decade's service, and in that time he has matured into a man

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George Skivington's positive spin on Gloucester's 57-0 loss to Leinster

Leinster Rugby v Gloucester Rugby – Heineken Champions Cup – RDS Arena

Gloucester head coach George Skivington was proud of the “fighting spirit” his young team showed in a 57-0 defeat to Heineken Champions Cup Pool A pacesetters Leinster at the RDS.


Skivington took the blame for the lopsided scoreline after resting a high number of frontline players ahead of their Gallagher Premiership clash with Leicester.

Leinster cruised to their second bonus-point victory of the campaign, building a 31-0 half-time lead and finishing with nine tries shared between James Lowe (2), Josh van der Flier, Ronan Kelleher (2), Luke McGrath, Jordan Larmour and Caelan Doris.

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“It is not enjoyable to lose and not enjoyable to lose in that fashion, but in the context of the group we brought and to play a team that went to Racing and won 42-10 last week, I thought some of those young lads showed some real fighting spirit,” insisted Skivington.

“That was the marker today, how long you were going to fight for and do the basics well and see how it goes. We put some pressure on Leinster but didn’t quite execute against a very strong defence. The fight and intent of the boys was spot on.”

George Barton, Alex Hearle and Arthur Clark, who made his mark with a couple of lineout steals, all went off injured during the first half, while the Cherry and Whites also had to cope with sin-binnings for front rowers Henry Walker and Ciaran Knight.

Skivington was criticised in many quarters for bringing a shadow side across the Irish Sea, but he took responsibility for the nine-try loss as he moves on to league matters and then that return fixture against Leinster in mid-January.


“I thought the boys did everything I asked of them, but the score’s on me. It’s not a reflection of the players.

“Leinster are very well coached, very well drilled and they don’t blow their roles and that’s why they’re the favourites for the tournament. It’s not a nice scoreline but they put big scorelines on huge French clubs.”

That January 14 trip to Kingsholm was on Leo Cullen’s mind as the Leinster head coach reflected on the performance and what lies ahead for his table-topping outfit.

“Gloucester, when they play at Kingsholm in front of the Shed, it’s a very, very proud club there so I’m sure they’ll come out firing,” he acknowledged.


“They have other players who I’m sure they’ll bring back into the picture as well, so it’s important that we’re not getting carried away with ourselves as well.

“But it’s nice to have 10 points on the board and looking forward to the challenge that’s ahead.”

Cullen’s charges are doubly determined to secure home advantage in the knockout rounds, following last year’s Covid-19-disrupted campaign that saw them miss out on crucial points when Montpellier were awarded a 28-0 win by EPCR following positive cases.

“The nil part is probably the most pleasing thing because they did have opportunities, some great scramble, a ‘young player’ (Jonathan Sexton) coming on the end there making a try-saving tackle over the line. That was good to see,” he added.


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RUGBYPASS+ Billy Twelvetrees: 'Ed started pre-season with us and and nine months on he’s really struggling. Jesus Christ.' Billy Twelvetrees: 'Ed started pre-season with us and and nine months on he’s really struggling. Jesus Christ.'