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'That's my area, so that is completely on me... my plan wasn't strong enough'

By PA
Press Association

Gloucester boss George Skivington accepted that his team’s set-piece game was not good enough after Bristol dealt a blow to their Gallagher Premiership play-off hopes.

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Bristol wing Toby Fricker’s 79th-minute try – his second of the game – condemned Gloucester to a 29-28 west country derby defeat at Ashton Gate.

They claimed two losing bonus points that put them level with fourth-placed Exeter, but two of their last three games are against Harlequins and Saracens.

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“I thought it was a tight game and someone was going to fall the wrong side of it, and that was us,” head coach Skivington said.

“At the end of the day, our set-piece wasn’t good enough. That’s my area, so that is completely on me.

“I don’t think my plan was strong enough for what Bristol threw at us today.

“I thought they did some good stuff when we had the ball, and the set-piece is mine – I take responsibility for that.”

Gloucester trailed by 17 points after just 11 minutes following Bristol tries for hooker Harry Thacker and scrum-half Andy Uren, while Callum Sheedy kicked two conversions and a penalty.

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But inspired by their gifted Wales wing Louis Rees-Zammit, who scored one try and created another for scrum-half Charlie Chapman, the visitors added a third try through centre Chris Harris before half-time.

Fricker’s first try, converted by Sheedy, put Bristol back in front, yet substitute back Sam Bedlow was then sent off for a high tackle on Gloucester fly-half Adam Hastings.

And with the home side down to 14 men, Gloucester’s replacement hooker Jack Singleton touched down, with Hastings kicking his fourth conversion, before Fricker struck.

“I thought Bristol came out with their physicality in the first 10 minutes, really hard and fast, and we blinked and it was 17-0,” Skivington added.

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“It wasn’t panic stations, which was the good thing, and the boys found their way back into it.

“It’s not so much what happened at the end – that was entertaining for everybody else, except me!

“We threw away opportunity after opportunity, and those sort of moments start adding up. You only get so many shots.

“We need to be better than that. If we do get to the top four and we play like that, there is no point getting there.

“You want to be there because you’ve earned the right to be there and you win these sort of games.”

Bristol have no hope of reaching the play-offs, and their Heineken Champions Cup qualification chances for next season are remote, but they at least ended a run of four successive Premiership defeats.

Bristol bowed out of Europe against Sale Sharks last Friday, and rugby director Pat Lam said: “There is a lot of pride in that performance. It was a tough week.

“On Monday morning, I had all the staff and players in and asked them to write down what we are playing for in terms of the rest of the season.

“So they fed back, and we had some great things – playing for each other, players that are leaving, the jersey, all great words. Then I put a massive circle and said ‘action’.

“We have shown glimpses this season. Everyone put their hand up, they know our system works, but what has let us down is individual errors and discipline, and it has cost us in games.”

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