Sunday, January 22, 2006

Top Seeds

Gloucester 35 – Bayonne 19

So Gloucester finish the qualifying leagues as top seed for the knock-out stage and have a home quarter-final draw as a reward for their enterprising and ambitious play in this competition. This punter thought that, with two French clubs in the group, qualification would prove tricky but in five of the six games played by the city, the team has achieved a bonus point and I salute this wholeheartedly. Today’s match saw a workmanlike performance from one to fifteen but a special mention should be given to Marcel Garvey who appeared lively in attack and determinedly resilient in defence. He outclassed his rival for a wing berth, Mark Foster, in every department. Foster remains the team’s weakest link and I am increasingly aware that he conspicuously fails to beat his opposite number on a one-on-one encounter every time. His tackling and ability to cover is suspect too while he lacks the pace one would expect from a Premiership winger. Personally I would consider playing another of our wingers, Thirlby or Bailey, or perhaps Jon Goodridge in his stead.

Meanwhile, Oliver Morgan goes from strength to strength. His intelligence, bravery, pace and alertness impressed again today. He does the basics so assuredly and has to be the most improved player in the squad. His lengthy run in the team has done wonders for his all round play so one is unable to criticise Dean Ryan too much for sticking with the lacklustre Foster when a similar approach has proved so valuable for our superb and eye-catching young fullback.

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