Gloucester Rugby defence coach John Muggleton admits he was impressed by his young players’ professionalism after they recorded a straight-forward LV= Cup victory over Harlequins.
Gloucester won’t know if they have qualified for the semi-finals until after Saracens’ game with Exeter Chiefs on Sunday where a Sarries loss would see the Cherry and Whites top Pool 1.
They held up their end of the bargain at Kingsholm as scores by Dan Thomas, Jacob Rowan and Steph Reynolds ensured a comfortable victory with Ugo Monye’s try just before half-time the only resistance offered by Quins.
A young home side couldn’t quite earn themselves a four-try bonus point despite extensive late pressure but Muggleton still believes it was a job well done.
“We are very happy with the result but after Steph's try, we were definitely thinking about the bonus point,” said Muggleton.
“We took a couple of line-outs where we could have gone for scrums but you never know with them, you could get driven back.
“We made a couple of breaks and got close at the end but we are happy with what we have done.
“Now it is all about Saracens – if Sarries win that ends our competition but we can only do what we can, which is get out there and win the game.
“We will see what happens and whatever does, Nick Walshe [attack coach] and I are very proud of the players.”
While Gloucester won three of their four LV= Cup fixture this term, Harlequins won just one and finish third in Pool 4.
But director of rugby Conor O’Shea insists he was pleased with his young squad’s progress throughout the competition and believes the future is bright as they prepare to return to the bread-and-butter of Aviva Premiership Rugby.
“Matt Shields put in a tremendous shift and there were lots of moving parts with Charlie Piper and Stan South playing their first games at the age of 18,” explained O’Shea.
“I look for different things in games like this and we could have given up the ghost but we were holding the ball when it was 25-7 in the last two minutes and not kicking it off. That's what I look for in people.
“We did a lot right in the eight weeks of Europe and the league. These two weeks of the LV= Cup were a respite after the disappointment of not getting across the line in Europe.
“But we know we have a job to do in the league and if we have young fellas coming through who are showing that sort of fight and willingness to play to the bitter end, I will be pretty comfortable.”
Gloucester Rugby: Burns; Thorley (Little 75), Purdy, Meakes (Creed 65), Reynolds; A Thomas, Robson (Braley 51); Murphy (Y Thomas 51), Lutui (Cole 59), Puafisi, (Knight 51); Stooke, Hicks (Hudson 51); Rowan, D Thomas (Ludlow 75), Ross Moriarty.
Harlequins: Chisholm; Lindsay-Hague, Sloan, Turner-Hall (Swiel 15), Monye (Tikoirotuma 47); Botica, Dickson (Burns 59); Marfo, Buchanan (Piper 64), Shields; Merrick, Twomey (South 58); Trayfoot, Wallace (Cheeseman 58), Talei.
Subs not used: Lambert, Gray.
Tries: D Thomas, Rowan, Reynolds
Conversions: A Thomas 2
Penalties: A Thomas 2
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Tickets for this year's LV= Cup Final on 22 March at Franklin's Gardens are now on sale. Click here to snap one up from just £20 for adults, £10 for juniors to see who will win the first silverware of the season.