Champions Cup: George Skivington praises Leinster’s attack as Gloucester suffer another heavy defeat

Gloucester head coach George Skivington conceded that his side ‘couldn’t get a foothold in the game’ as they fell to a 49-14 Champions Cup defeat to Leinster Credit: Alamy
Gloucester head coach George Skivington conceded that his side ‘couldn’t get a foothold in the game’ as they fell to a 49-14 Champions Cup defeat to Leinster Credit: Alamy

Gloucester head coach George Skivington conceded that his side ‘couldn’t get a foothold in the game’ as they fell to a 49-14 Champions Cup defeat to Leinster.

The Irish province ran in seven converted tries in the victory as Gloucester struggled to deal with the visitors’ lethal attack.

‘They had us all over the place’

Skivington said his side knew how challenging it would be to stop Leinster’s attack but that the task is very different when put in front of you.

“I have definitely not seen us have to deal with an attacking threat like that. The speed and accuracy they had definitely caught us out,” Skivington said after the defeat.

“They scored three tries off first-phase play – they had us all over the place a few times.

“We know how clinical Leinster are with their plays; it’s just very different when they are put in front of you and have got three guys running great lines.”

The Gloucester boss was able to take some positives out of the match despite the heavy defeat.

“There are some good learnings for us as a team. If you are that accurate and you can do it at that speed, you are going to blow people away,” he said.

“We have been very good defensively this year, but that was a step up. We couldn’t get a foothold in the game, barring a couple of penalty tries.

“There was some good stuff – it wasn’t a complete horror show. The scoreline wouldn’t look great without watching the game, but there were a few good bits in there.”

Skivington upbeat about playoff chances

Despite the loss, Gloucester still has a chance of qualifying for the round of 16, but they will need to improve quickly as they face Bordeaux next weekend.

“We are still in a position (to qualify), and we will get ready for Bordeaux,” Skivington added.

“I am excited about it, but we are going to have to have a better start than we did today.”

Osborne earns Cullen’s praise

Leinster have qualified for the round of 16 after bonus point wins in their opening three Champions Cup fixtures.

The four-time European champions dispatched Gloucester 57-0 before Christmas and similarly racked up a big score this week.

Leo Cullen’s charges had the bonus point in the bag by half-time thanks to tries by wing Jordan Larmour, prop Michael Ala’alatoa, centre Jamie Osborne and number eight Caelan Doris.

Fly-half Ross Byrne was on song from the tee converting all four scores. By that stage, the damage was done despite the Cherry and Whites being awarded two penalty tries from collapsed mauls.

Full-back Hugo Keenan, flanker Josh van der Flier and hooker Ronan Kelleher touched down in the second half, with Ross Byrne converting the first and his brother Harry Byrne the latter two.

Commenting on the match, Cullen said that he was pleased with the win, adding that it was a good day for the side.

“It was a pleasing win. There was some good variety in our play,” Cullen said.

“Gloucester had their moments in the game, and they didn’t make life easy for us, so there is plenty for us to get better at, but it was a good day for us.”

21-year-old centre Osborne was named star of the match, earning the praise of his head coach.

“He is just getting better all the time,” Cullen added.

“He is still incredibly young, and you can see the natural ability that he has. He had some really outstanding moments in the game.”

Having racked up a full house of points from the first three rounds, Leinster turn their attention to Racing 92 at the Aviva Stadium next weekend.

Meanwhile, Gloucester are off to France to tackle Bordeaux.

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