Assistant coach Nick Walshe believes Ollie Thorley demonstrated why he has such a bright future in the game after the young winger helped keep Gloucester Rugby’s LV=Cup qualification hopes alive with victory over Ospreys.
Thorley, 18, got himself on the scoresheet at Kingsholm as Gloucester ran in four tries en route to a 32-25 triumph over their Welsh opponents.
Aled Thomas dotted down with less than five minutes played before the Cherry and Whites earned a penalty try after an inexorable driving maul.
Ben John narrowed the deficit with an interception try but Thorley and Dan Thomas wrapped up the bonus point, although Richard Fussell and Tom Grabham’s scores set up a grandstand finish.
Gloucester now sit top of Pool 1 on ten points although Saracens are just two points behind heading into their clash with London Welsh tomorrow.
But Walshe insists the team are not concerned with how other teams in their pool are faring, they are simply full focussed on themselves.
“We didn't really concentrate on the LV= Cup table as ultimately it's out of our hands,” explained Walshe.
“However it was really important that we got a win and maintained the momentum as this is our fifth win on the bounce since the start of the New Year.
“I’m really delighted – it was a good game and a tough game because the Ospreys came here to play.
“They had a very experienced back-line and some big hitters up front but I thought the team played really well.
“We got ourselves into a good position but unfortunately we let them back in a little bit towards the end and made it a little bit more exciting than it should have been.
“I thought Ollie Thorley was really outstanding – he was physical, tackled well and got on the end of a try thanks to Aled [Thomas].
“Aled probably could have scored himself but it’s nice to give a young lad like Ollie a try at Kingsholm.
Despite their comfortable lead at the break, the resilience and determination of the Ospreys in the second half meant Gloucester faced a nervy final few minutes.
And although the home side eventually prevailed, Ospreys skills coach Dan Griffiths is adamant there are plenty of positives to be gleaned from the display.
“We are frustrated that we left ourselves too much to do,” he said. “We showed terrific spirit to come back into it as they were hanging on at the end.
“In the first half we gave away too many penalties and those two yellow cards were killers. However we had four debutants in our line-up and there was a lot of positives to take from the game.
"We can't afford to go out and buy players as we have a very low budget compared with others so we have to develop our own and give them more exposure."
Gloucester Rugby: A Thomas; Reynolds (Little 65), Purdy, Meakes, Thorley; Burns (Creed 62), Braley; Murphy (Y Thomas 62), Dawidiuk (Lutui 40), Puafisi (Knight 52); Stooke (Batley 47), Hicks; D Thomas, Rowan, Moriarty (Ludlow 45)
Sub unused: Robson
Yellow Card: Lutui
Ospreys: Fussell; Grabham, Spratt (J Thomas 66), John, Howells (Natoga 63); Davies, Habberfield (Roberts 63); G Thomas (Sloane 59), Otten, Suter (Griffiths 47); Bernardo (Hughes 4), Cavubati; Cracknell, Jones, Morgan Allen (Boladau 33, Dwyer 47)
Yellow cards: Habberfield, Davies
Tries: A Thomas, Penalty, Thorley, D Thomas
Conversions: Burns 3
Penalties: Burns, A Thomas
Tries: John, Fussell, Grabham
Conversions: Davies 2
Penalties: Davies 2
Attendance: 12, 225
Referee: Andrew Jackson
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.