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Humphreys: No issue over Hibbard


As far as Gloucester were concerned Richard Hibbard was cleared to play by Wales

As far as Gloucester were concerned Richard Hibbard was cleared to play by Wales

As far as Gloucester were concerned Richard Hibbard was cleared to play by Wales

Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys insisted his club had the blessing of the Wales national team management to put hooker Richard Hibbard on the bench for their Aviva Premiership defeat to Harlequins at Kingsholm.

Hibbard came on for the last seven minutes of the match, in which Gloucester went ahead 12-0 before Quins scored three tries through number eight Nick Easter, flanker Luke Wallace and wing Charlie Walker and two conversions and a penalty from fly-half Nick Easter to claim a 22-15 victory.

Gloucester scored just once after the break when replacement Aled Thomas booted a 30-metre penalty as the Cherry and Whites lost their way.

But it was the appearance of Hibbard, who damaged his ankle when playing for Wales against Australia in Cardiff last Saturday and did not train in the early part of the week before being released back to his club, which provided the main talking point.

Earlier on Friday Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde said: "I understand there are a couple of injuries with regard to the hooker position in Gloucester. However, if he does take the field of play, then obviously he jeopardises his inclusion next week (against New Zealand) from a fitness point of view."

Humphreys was bemused by McBryde's outburst and said: "We did not have any problems with Wales. Clearly, we have no impact on Welsh selection. All I will say is that we had discussions with the Welsh management yesterday and it was agreed with the Welsh management that Richard would be sitting on the bench tonight.

"We are unaware of what changed between last night and this morning. We want Richard to be playing against New Zealand and look forward to seeing him against them.

"The starting point in all these discussions is we wouldn't do anything that jeopardised player welfare and, as far as we were concerned, Richard was fit to play and that was agreed with the Welsh management yesterday afternoon.

"We are very surprised by this. As far as we are concerned, there was no issue. I don't think this is something which should been made a big issue."

As for the match, Humphreys was happy to play Twelvetrees at fly-half in place of James Hook, who was called up by Wales during the week.

He said: "The way he (Twelvetrees) played early on was good . He made some good decisions and kicked the ball well both out of hand and off the ground. Second half we did not have much ball, but that was not where the game was lost. It was lost through driving tries."

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea labelled the award of the first two Gloucester penalties "rubbish", although the victory was sweet.

"We were a bit frazzled and the first two penalties for 6-0 were not penalties and that is hard, because you go with a plan to defend the lineout and it was rubbish. That is difficult, but you know you are going to get decisions against you when you come here.

"It was a massive win for us. We knew we could have been out of it at 12-0, but we just kept playing around the corner of the loose position, which is our game.

"We started this huge fortnight behind the eight-ball, but we knew we were one good win away from being not far away from the top positions."