Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Humphreys hails 'unbelievable' Gloucester after semi final battle

By Declan Warrington

David Humphreys praised his Gloucester players as they made it through to the European Challenge Cup final with a 16-14 victory over La Rochelle.

The French side, surprise leaders of the Top14, had not lost at home all season but the Cherry and Whites emerged victorious at the Stade Marcel-Deflandre thanks mainly to Billy Burns.

Fly-half Burns scored all of Gloucester's points, converting his own intercept try and kicking three penalties in what was a remarkable defensive effort by the visitors.

It left director of rugby Humphreys delighted as his team set up the chance to repeat their victories in this competition in 2006 and 2015.

Gloucester will face Stade Francais in the final at Murrayfield on May 12 after a last-minute Jules Plisson drop-goal helped see off Bath 28-25.

Former Ireland fly-half Humphreys said: "This victory is just reward for all the hard work that has gone into this season. The effort the players put in out there was unbelievable. We showed character and spirit against an unbelievably good team. I'm delighted for everyone at the club.

"So much of what we planned to do came off, particularly in the first 30 minutes, and we hung in there. To defend the way we did against an unbelievably physical team was really pleasing and I'm thrilled to get back to another European final."

The nature of Gloucester's ecstatic celebrations at full-time told the story of just how hard it was to get the win.

Humphreys said: "Talking to some of the players coming off the field it was one of the toughest games they've ever been involved in."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph