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Monday May 13, 2024

The moment that shook Gloucester fans during their record defeat

Gloucester found themselves on the end of a record Premiership defeat on Saturday when they were dismantled 90 – 0 by a free-scoring, Northampton Saints.

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Saints, currently sitting at the table heading into the final round of Premiership matches, were utterly ruthless against a weakened Gloucester side at Franklin Gardens. Long-range wonder tries and rolling mauls were the plays of the day as the home side turned on the engine against a flailing Gloucester defence.

It’s not often that a team will find themselves 80 points down as the game nears the end of the match, so as far as game plans go for this kind of scenario…there generally isn’t one.

The question is, do you, as a team, aim to please the fans by trying to get a try or two on the board, or do you take the slightly easier option of kicking for 3 points to ensure that it’s not a complete whitewash?

In the 68th minute, the away side had decided that the latter of the two options was the safer bet, choosing to take what would appear to be an easy three points straight in front of the posts. Noting that the post-match statistics would paint an ever so slightly prettier picture, former Wasps fly-half Charlie Atkinson stepped up to give the fans something to golf clap.

Sadly for Atkinson, in events true to the game, the kick sailed past the left-hand upright – landing in the bemused fan base behind.

The television coverage from the day caught the perfect fan response at the time, check it out here:

Following the match, Northampton Saints director of rugby Phil Dowson told BBC Radio Northampton:

“There are two sides today, with two motivations. George [Skivington] has got a cup final in a couple of weeks time.

“We are pushing to try and get a bonus point to finish the season and guarantee us a home [semi-final].

“One of the things we spoke about was keeping it in-house, not worrying about what Gloucester were going to do and make sure that we got over the hangover [of the Champions Cup semi-final loss] of Dublin.

“I thought the players did that exceptionally well.”

Gloucester director of rugby George Skivington told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

“I don’t think we are going to make any excuses about how good Saints were.

“There are some massive lessons in that game. We weren’t good enough.

“We were always going to be up against it. Saints were absolutely ruthless, once they got that momentum, they just kept going.

“The game was fast and furious. We needed to win some collisions, we needed to slow their play up. It’s a very, very painful day.”

Gloucester fans rally after record defeat

The penultimate match in Gloucester’s woeful season was the icing on the extremely stale cake their supporters have been forced to indulge in. With just 4 wins from 17 matches and currently sitting 13 points behind their nearest rivals Leicester, the shed faithful will not remember this season with fondness.

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It will be a season the club will be remembered for losing Louis Rees-Zammit to an entirely different sport, a season in which they finished above only a winless (to be confirmed) Newcastle Falcons and a season in which they endured their record premiership defeat.

So if your club was going through all this in a season, how would you expect your fans to react?

Well, on social media the Gloucester faithful have been just that…faithful. A terrific set of supporters, the cherry and white public have been incredible in their response.

After captain Lewis Ludlow sent out an apology message to the fans following their rollover at the weekend – nothing but support flew back.

Messages from Gloucester fans read:

“Always appreciate your honesty and integrity Skip.“

“No one wanted that score but life goes on…… if I’ve learnt anything in these last few weeks it’s that life is too short specially for negativity! Move on to next week and know true supporters have your backs”

As with the respect and integrity that comes with the sport, even the opposition joined in to support the beaten side during this difficult time.

“As a saints fan, I feel gutted for you & the boys. Far from the Gloucester we were expecting. You put up a fight, but unfortunately just not strong enough today. Hold your heads up high and prepare for the next couple of weeks. You have silverware within your grasp. Go get it”

Gloucester head into the final round of matches next week with a bottom of the table clash against the winless Newcastle Falcons. Although the result will have no bearing on their final standings, it will prove important to rebuild optimism within their fan bases.

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