Gloucester have looked more hero-to-zero than zero-to-hero this season. When they won one of their best home matches in history against Toulouse in the Heineken Cup they looked as though they could beat anyone. But being defeated by Newcastle Falcons at Kingsholm at the weekend was a far cry from their Toulouse success earlier in the season.
Things started to go wrong back in October when the Cherry and Whites had consecutive home and away losses to Leicester, Saracens, Exeter, Toulouse, Harlequins and Newcastle – one of many losing streaks Gloucester have had this season.
The reason their inconsistency has been so disappointing, is because they have arguably one of the best groups of backs in the Premiership. The likes of Jonny May, Charlie Sharples, Freddie Burns and Henry Trinder are all potential candidates for England in 2015, but uncertainty about the future of head coach Bryan Redpath has been circulating in the media in the last few days. Redpath himself hasn’t completely denied the claims but the club has said they have had no contact from Sale Sharks, who Gloucester will play next week.
However, Gloucester won’t be letting that affect them as the season draws ever nearer to its conclusion. But what the club will be worrying about more is the fact they have dropped down to seventh in the Aviva Premiership table and have had three consecutive losses. Exeter travelled to Kingsholm three weeks ago and narrowly beat their local rivals by one point. Next, Gloucester made a trip to Adams Park to take on Wasps who they also narrowly lost to. And thanks to a late try, Newcastle also beat Gloucester on Saturday.
They have now got themselves into a scrap for Heineken Cup rugby with Sale Sharks who they will have a crucial match with next week.
Gloucester’s new signings would be disappointed not to be playing elite European rugby next season. England star Ben Morgan, Leicester’s Billy Twelvetrees, Brumbies hooker Huia Edmonds and Tongan powerhouse Sione Kalamfoni are just a handful of new signings to come in over the summer.
These new signings are essential given the number of losses the club is set to experience in the coming months, with Luke Narraway, Alasdair Strokosch, and Scott Lawson all leaving Kingsholm at the end of the season. Nothing is yet confirmed but it is expected that former England centre Mike Tindall and Samoa’s Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu will also leave the club in the summer.
This leaves Gloucester with a big hole to fill but the Kingsholm new boys will no doubt become fans favourites. Speculation has also arisen about Gloucester potentially signing All Black legend Jimmy Cowan as Scottish scrum-half Rory Lawson could also be departing.
With all of this considered, Gloucester should be pressing for a play-off spot next season and hopefully some silverware. They have featured in the LV= Cup final for the last three years but this year failed to do so, not making it past the group stages of the competition – another disappointing failure.
Gloucester is a club glittered in history. It is a rugby city and the fans and atmosphere on matchday is incredible. When a club of their calibre is underachieving so drastically, the clubs reputation takes a beating. Despite all of this, Gloucester have enjoyed some big wins this season. Victories over West-Country rivals Bath, the Barcelona of rugby Toulouse, table-toppers Harlequins and more have been fantastic moments for the club and should not be forgotten.
by Sam Durham