David Humphreys believes Gloucester Rugby fans have yet to see the best of full-back Tom Marshall after the New Zealander’s impressive individual performance helped secure a 31-23 win over Saracens at Kingsholm.
It was Richard Hibbard’s 75th– minute try that capped a brilliant team effort, while Billy Burns kicked 13 points, Billy Twelvetrees added a crucial three-pointer in the 74th-minute and ex-All Black Jeremy Thrush also crossed for a vital try.
Saracens, who lead early on through Alex Lozowsk’s boot and Schalk Brits’ try then had to fight back from 23-13 down, but looked set for a 23-23 draw after Will Fraser’s try.
Ben Morgan’s break laid the platform for Hibbard’s match-winning score, but Humphreys pointed to the general contribution of talented back Marshall – who made 90 metres from seven carries and scored Gloucester’s first try.
Eddie Jones was at Kingsholm tonight. Who stood out for you on the pitch?
— Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) February 17, 2017
“We have known for a long time how much potential Tom Marsall has – from before he joined Gloucester,” Humphreys said.
“He has been a very unfortunate with injury over the course of the past 18 months and there is no doubt the Kingsholm support haven’t seen the best of him.
“Tonight I thought he was outstanding, he was almost the centre of everything good that we did.
“It is hard immediately after the game to really put your finger on what made the difference.
“Last weekend wasn’t a fair representation of where this club has got to over the past 12 months. “Two years ago we had inconsistent performances, but this year has been a lot better and last week was really only a blip.
“Tonight the players came out tonight and were outstanding in every aspect of the game and I felt we deserved to win in the end.
“Everybody knows the good sides have confidence in what they’re doing. We knew what we needed to do tonight, we knew that we needed to control the field position that we talked about and then when the opportunities came tonight we took them, which we haven’t done previously.”
No trophies won in February… a mini blip for Sarries. But a great result for Gloucester back in the Top 6 mixer with those valuable 4pts 🏉
— ugo monye (@ugomonye) February 17, 2017
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall watched his side slip to a second straight league defeat for the first time since May 2015, but remained confident his defending Aviva Premiership Rugby champions would be in the running come the league’s business end.
“Seasons are very long and inevitably you are going to have little patches like these. We have had them for the last seven years and have always been able to dig our way out of them,” McCall explained.
“We did some really good things, but I think we just went off the script a little bit at times. We lost our composure and we were able to capitalise.
“It was a very different defeat to last week’s performance, I don’t think you can fault the effort – I thought our effort was phenomenal all game.
“I don’t think we were as smart as we needed to be at the start of the second-half, we just started to panic a little bit around our own 22, did a few things that we wouldn’t normally wouldn’t do.
“We gave them a soft score and some good field position, but we showed a lot of resilience to get back into the game and to 23-23 with ten minutes to go.”
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) February 17, 2017
Gloucester Rugby: Marshall; Sharples (Hook 33-39), Scott, Twelvetrees, Halaifonua; Burns (Hook 60), Heinz; Hohneck (Thomas 64), Hibbard (Matu’u 64 (Hibbard 67)), Ma’afu (P Doran-Jones 3); Savage, Thrush (Galarza 62); Moriarty (Ludlow 72), Rowan, Morgan
Replacements not used: C Braley. H Trinder
Saracens: Maitland (Gallagher 50); Ashton, Bosch, Barritt (c), Ellery; Lozowski (Malins 77), Wigglesworth (Spencer 72); Vunipola (Barrington 72), Brits (Saunders 77), Figallo (Du Plessis 72); Rhodes, Hamilton (Flanagan 77), Fraser, Burger (Brown 41), Wray
Tries: Marshall, Thrush, Hibbard.
Conversions: B Burns 2
Penalties: B Burns 3, B Twelvetrees
Tries: Brits, Fraser.
Conversions: A Lozowski
Penalties: Bosch, Lozowski 2
Referee: Wayne Barnes