Humphreys joy at Gloucester resolve
Gloucester boss David Humphreys praised the character of his squad after a superb second-half fightback delivered an absorbing 34-27 Aviva Premiership victory over Sale Sharks.
The west country club, smashed 53-6 by champions Northampton eight days ago, trailed 17-3 just before half-time at Kingsholm after the Sharks ran in tries by wing Tom Arscott, scrum-half Chris Cusiter and full-back Luke McLean.
Danny Cipriani had run the show for Sale, playing a creative role in all three touchdowns, but Gloucester were transformed after the break as wing Jonny May and full-back Rob Cook scored tries prior to a late penalty try, while scrum-half Greig Laidlaw kicked 19 points.
"The first half was obviously disappointing," Humphreys said.
"Maybe there was a bit of a hangover from last week, plus the nervousness and pressure that comes from your first home game of the season, and we just contributed to our downfall.
"But for the players to come back from 17-3 down shows the character within the squad. We are delighted to come away with the win.
"The players we have got, everyone understood what we hadn't done well, so it was a case of going out in the second half and trying to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
"We got a couple of penalties that Greig knocked over and then it was about scoreboard pressure.
"The pack allowed us to create the pressure in the second half. We were much more disciplined on and off the ball, and our half-backs controlled the game a lot better.
"We know the quality of players that have come in to the club, but we have said all along that in terms of developing partnerships it just takes that little bit of time."
New-look Gloucester were at sixes and sevens for most of the opening period, as they looked to shake off any lingering effects of a Franklin's Gardens hangover, and Sale did not require a second invitation to compound their misery.
Cipriani set up Arscott for an opening try inside two minutes, then further fine work created the attacking spark that enabled Cusiter and McLean to prosper.
There appeared no way back for Gloucester, given Sale's dominance, yet a combination of Scotland international Laidlaw's impressive accuracy and May's elusiveness sunk the Sharks.
Sale had the consolation of claiming two losing bonus points secured through Cipriani's late converted try, and rugby director Steve Diamond adopted a philosophical approach to the defeat.
"We started really well, and played well in the first half, but fair play to Gloucester, they got their backsides into gear and we couldn't control possession," he said.
"I am disappointed with the result, but we scored four tries and we go away with two points. We have got to be thankful for that.
"We had to try and carry on playing like we had done in the first half, but we didn't react accordingly.
"The attitude of the lads is good. We just let ourselves down with not being able to retain possession, but we took our options well in the first half with Danny orchestrating everything. He is playing well."