Fisher blames failure to convert


Published: Friday 2nd January 2015 by The News Editor

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Head coach Laurie Fisher believes Gloucester’s failure to convert close games into victories has underpinned their current lowly Aviva Premiership position.

Gloucester head to west country rivals Exeter on Saturday, having claimed a solitary win from the last six league matches.

They are currently ninth in the league, 12 points adrift of the fourth play-off place occupied by Exeter with half the Premiership campaign over.

“We are obviously disappointed with where we are in the table,” Fisher said.

“It has come about because of our inability to close out close games. That’s our challenge in the second half of the season, to turn those close games into wins.

“We finished the game strongly against them (Exeter) at home earlier in the season and had a real opportunity to close that game out, which we didn’t take.

“Our major concern is about ourselves, so we haven’t made too much of the fact that they’ve lost their last two games. Except that they are probably hungry for a win at home.

“We need to be disciplined, to get on the right side of the referee, to make sure all those things are in place. We have to ensure that we’re squeaky clean in everything we do.”

Despite suffering successive league defeats against Sale and Bath, Exeter remain in the title play-off zone, two points above fifth-placed Leicester, and Gloucester’s visit this weekend marks their 100th Premiership game since gaining top-flight status.

Exeter head coach Rob Baxter said: “We’ve never had this many points at the halfway stage, but all you are fighting for at this stage of the season is to give yourself a chance to be in some big games at the end of the season.

“We are very much aware of that, and we have said we now have two games before the next European break where we have to get points if you want to be hanging in and around the top four.

“We are under what you would say is positive pressure, and we want to put pressure on ourselves to stay at the top end. Gloucester, I suppose, are under a different pressure to get results and start climbing the league.

“It’s not like previous years where we have been the team fighting to prove ourselves all the time. Now, we have to move beyond that and we have to fight to show we are a good side who want to be at the right end of the table.”

Saturday’s other Premiership action is at Allianz Park, where third-placed Saracens host London Irish.

“We are under no illusions of the task in front of us, and it is not made any easier by the fact we have 12 players unavailable for selection,” Irish rugby director Brian Smith said.

“Saracens are a well-drilled side and are full of internationals. However, we have had a good record against them of late, and we will go to Allianz Park looking to continue that.”

Sunday’s Premiership programme sees Bath heading to Welford Road, where Leicester will be hell-bent on avenging a 45-0 drubbing dished out by the west country club when the clubs last met in September.

Bath are unbeaten in their last five games against the Tigers, though, and they are chasing a first Premiership double at Leicester’s expense since the 2003-04 season.

Rugby league recruit Sam Burgess makes his full Premiership debut for Bath, featuring at outside centre instead of Jonathan Joseph, with Paul James, David Wilson and Dave Attwood all returning up-front, while Leicester welcome back Blaine Scully, Anthony Allen and Graham Kitchener from injury.

Wasps, meanwhile, host Sale at the Ricoh Arena – a crowd of 15,000 is expected for their second Premiership game in Coventry – and bottom club London Welsh entertain Harlequins.

London Welsh are currently 14 points adrift at the Premiership basement, but head coach Justin Burnell said: “There is nobody in our environment burying their head in the sand.

“It’s about rolling our sleeves up, continuing to work hard and continuing to look for that first win.”

Published: Friday 2nd January 2015 by The News Editor

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