The Gloucester positional gamble that paid off in spades
Gloucester head coach George Skivington said his players “wanted to make a point” as they returned to winning ways with a 34-19 victory over Northampton in the Gallagher Premiership.
Skivington, who was celebrating his 40th birthday, saw his side score four tries at Kingsholm to move themselves up three places to fourth in the table, leapfrogging their visitors in the process.
The win ended a run of three straight league defeats for the Cherry and Whites, who were inspired by a fine performance from stand-in fly-half Santiago Carreras following his return from international duty with Argentina.
Skivington said: “I thought the boys were outstanding tonight.
“Obviously, in our last Premiership game here, against Newcastle, we were very disappointed with what we put out on the field and I think that’s probably the first time we’ve done that in a couple of years.
“The boys wanted to make a point, they wanted to give something back to the supporters and just make that right.”
On Carreras’ display, Skivington said: “Santi came back and did two days with us last week and we put him at 10 because he’d been playing 10 (for Argentina).
“He hasn’t trained a day at 10 pre-last week and I think this week he really knuckled down and understood the system from that role, rather than from deep, where he’s been playing before.
“But he’s a world-class player, he’s very diligent in what he does, it’s not luck and the boys really fed off that, and he got us on the front foot.”
Tommy Freeman struck twice for Northampton after Jack Singleton’s opening try for Gloucester, but scores from Chris Harris and Carreras put the hosts 21-12 up at half-time.
Fraser Balmain’s try then earned the Cherry and Whites a bonus point, with Saints only able to respond through James Ramm between two penalties by Carreras.
Northampton director of rugby Phil Dowson said: “I seem to be talking a lot after games about how frustrating it is, but again we gave ourselves lots of opportunities to score points and didn’t convert that pressure again.
“Then in the second half discipline issues raise their ugly head again and we got on the wrong side of the penalty count, and a yellow card (for Lewis Ludlam).
“We are going to give penalties away at times, it’s then about how we recover from that, that we don’t give the next one away or don’t give the ball away after that.
“Not doubling up on errors and giving soft penalties away, or avoidable penalties, would be a good thing to focus on.
“We some really good stuff going forward and we’re very good at getting into the opposition 22, but when we’re there, we’re profligate with the ball.”
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