Jonny Bell impressed by Gloucester fringe players in win over Newport
Gloucester defence coach Jonny Bell left Kingsholm satisfied at his side's display after they finished their Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign with a 24-13 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons.
Neither side could qualify for the semi-finals but Gloucester earned a morale-boosting win to finish second in Pool Four behind Leicester.
The success was secured through tries by Cameron Orr, Henry Trinder and Ben Vellacott, along with nine points via three conversions and a penalty from Lloyd Evans.
The Dragons, meanwhile, rallied at the end as Matthew Screech score two unconverted tries to add to a penalty from Tom Prydie in the first half.
Bell and director of rugby David Humphreys have the job of assessing the squad before a date with Leicester at Welford Road in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday.
Orr scored a crucial try just before half-time to give Gloucester the lead for the first time, and Bell reflected: "We took our opportunity well when it came and that was a big boost for us.
"We came out in the second half and I thought they were terrific. That was a pretty experienced Dragons side and a relatively inexperienced Gloucester side and I thought our young guys equipped themselves very well.
"They carried the ball and defended incredibly well too. So I am delighted."
The fact it was a dead rubber in the cup was not a signal for the players to have free reign over the match, although the Cherry and Whites did turn down several kickable penalties in the first period.
"We do not operate that way," said Bell. "We have a clear plan and we try and stick to it.
"The Dragons were not going to come up here and roll over because they are trying to prep for a Pro12 game next week."
Now places will be up for grabs for the visit to the Tigers.
Bell added: "That is what it is all about. These international windows can give younger players an opportunity.
"We talked in the changing room afterwards about how important this was and how we continue the momentum. There has been an edge to these guys (in recent weeks) which gives us selection dilemmas."
The Dragons ended the tournament in third place in Pool One, and their defence coach Shaun Connor had no complaints about the defeat which came just a year after they beat Gloucester in the European Challenge Cup at Kingsholm.
Connor said: "We had lots of good things in our game and then we lost control of it in probably the last five minutes of the first half and the first 10 of the second half. To concede points at those times really hurt us.
"Over the last couple of weeks, we are giving teams lots of opportunities to maul against us and, to be fair to Gloucester, they did a pretty good job of it."