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Davies: Narrow win could be pivotal

Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies believes Saturday's 14-13 victory over Exeter at Sandy Park could prove the turning point in his team's season.

Thirteen-man Gloucester hung on for a narrow triumph - their first league win away from Kingsholm in 2014 - to move above their hosts into eighth place in the Aviva Premiership table.

"That was our third Premiership on the trot - that is pretty significant, so I was pleased about that," Davies said. "We had really targeted this one as a key game in our season.

"It can almost turn round our season a little bit. Exeter are having a great season and rightly so get a lot of plaudits, but right now we sit above them in the league.

"We have had a tough season. We've been nowhere near where we would have liked to have been.

"But we are still battling and to get three wins on the bounce - and come up from where we have been - is pretty significant and the boys should take a lot of credit for that.

"Our focus now is to win as many games as we can and we have made a good fist of it so far."

Two Rob Cook penalties left Gloucester trailing 8-6 at the break after a Henry Slade penalty and a Matt Jess touchdown had given the Chiefs the edge.

But the second half was dominated by the Cherry and Whites.

The visitors regained the lead with Cook's third penalty and a Charlie Sharples try, but in the final minutes Sila Puafisi and Sione Kalamafoni were yellow-carded and Cook was sacrificed when Nick Wood had to return to the Gloucester front row.

Exeter took advantage of the extra men to drive over the line with replacement Don Armand's try reducing the arrears to one point, but replacement kicker Gareth Steenson was unable to add the extras.

Davies added: "Overall I thought we were the better team and we deserved that win and I was pleased with the effort and the commitment from my players.

"We probably spurned a couple of chances in the game which made it difficult for us to defend at the end.

"But the energy and enthusiasm that the guys showed at the death was a credit to them. We have been preparing for this game because it was a huge game, when you look at the table, and we realised that Exeter had had a couple of tough games.

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter refused to blame Steenson for his failure to convert their last-minute try, which would have sealed victory but his side, but felt it should have been a penalty try when the second yellow was issued.

"It was great endeavour from the guys at the end but I am a little perplexed about how you can have a driving maul flying over the line that collapses and it is a yellow card but not a penalty try, especially after a couple of penalties that led up to it," Baxter said.

"It was tough for Gareth because he hadn't had any shots at goal at that point and there was a very tough wind. Gareth missing a kick is not a big issue for me - it's a bit more how we needed a conversion in the last seconds to win the game."

He added: "I am not going to hide my disappointment because I don't think that we played particularly well. I said to the guys afterwards that if you want to win Premiership games you have to go out there and play really well.

"You have to make it about yourselves and you have to take all your opportunities with two hands. I thought at the start we were nervy because of the amount of times we gave poor passes or lacked crispness or dropped the ball or whatever.

"But as it wore on you can't really say it is about nerves because in the final period we kind of dominated possession and territory without really ramming home what we needed to.

"We have a break now and what we have to do now is re-ignite some of the intensity that we were playing with just a few weeks ago. This is just another of those one-point score games where we have been our own worse enemies."


From Belfast Telegraph