'It's not something I am really concerned about'
Gloucester have reached the season’s business end in contention for a possible trophy treble, but head coach George Skivington is staying grounded. Skivington’s team stand seven points adrift of the Gallagher Premiership play-off zone with four games left, but they are also awaiting an independent panel’s ruling on points allocation from their cancelled league game against Worcester last month.
The panel assembled this week to investigate circumstances under which Worcester were unable to field the required six front-row players for the Kingsholm fixture. It meant the match was cancelled and will not be replayed and it would be a major surprise if Gloucester are not awarded at least four points, with an outcome possible by the end of this week.
They tackle Bristol at Ashton Gate on Friday before facing Bath, Harlequins and Saracens, while there is also a Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final against Worcester later this month and a European Challenge Cup quarter-final appointment with Saracens on May 7 on their schedule.
“There might be five teams who could make it into that fourth spot, so it is not something I am really concerned about,” Skivington said. “We need to be a threat across the board and if we get that right, we are a very good team and a dangerous team and things could happen. But if we don’t, then any talk of the top four or anything like that quickly disappears. If you can be fighting in three competitions at this point of the season, you have got half a chance.
“But again, in the next three matches or whatever, your season can be all wrapped up and you are not in anything. We are very happy to be fighting on all three fronts and I would like it to be like that every year, but we are also very aware if you don’t get game by game right, all those fronts are gone.”
Bristol have no chance of making the playoffs, and only a distant hope with regard to qualification for next season’s Heineken Champions Cup – a competition they went out of last Friday against Sale. They are 10th in the Premiership, 18 points behind Gloucester, but Skivington added: “I am not in their camp, but they have got four games to go and I am very sure they will go extremely hard.
“I don’t think Pat (Lam, Bristol rugby director) would be writing any season off until the very last game. I expect it to be a seriously physical game against a battle-hardened team. I’m not concerned about where they are on the table. We know the talent that is within that squad.
“There are some unbelievable players that we all know about, so you would be very foolish to ever think that Bristol would not turn up and be extremely dangerous. We are not under-estimating Bristol whatsoever. They are dangerous from everywhere. You saw glimpses of it against Sale and threat is the right word because from anywhere on the field they could end up getting over your line.”
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