Gloucester 22-21 Leeds, Aviva Premiership, September 11
Tindall fronts up to Gloucester failings
September 11, 2010
Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu stretches over as Gloucester seal a streaky win © Getty Images
Mike Tindall pulled no punches about Gloucester's second dismal performance in two games as they just managed to scramble a first victory over battling Leeds at Kingsholm.
Leeds were in front with three minutes to go after 19-year-old fly-half Christian Lewis-Pratt had booted three penalties, scored a first-half try and converted a second touchdown when centre Luther Burrell grabbed the ball after it hit the post from another penalty attempt.
Gloucester were impressive for eight minutes as No.8 Luke Narraway and prop Alasdair Dickinson surged over and got a third try through centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu. But, after the break, the Cherry and Whites squandered numerous chances to lead. The biggest blunders saw full-back Charlie Sharples drop the ball on the left with the line at his mercy, while Narraway took a quick tap penalty under the posts, instead letting fly-half Nicky Robinson go for goal when Gloucester were behind.
It followed a horrible performance in defeat to Premiership debutants Exeter last Saturday. Eventually, they just got home against Leeds, but England centre Tindall said: "We have to be upfront and honest with each other. Things have to be said.
"All around the field, we were forcing offloads not just by one player but by every player. Not taking that tap penalty under the sticks was not good enough. That is not what we are about. If we are going to get better and perform better, we have to learn that.
"If it means that these two games give us a kick up the backside, then so be it. During the week in training is no problem. Handling-wise is very good and sometimes it seems we are turning up and complacency comes into it."
Head coach Bryan Redpath was equally scathing after a week in which he had made his views well and truly known to the Gloucester camp.
"There were too many handling errors again," he said. "Some of the players need to grow up and we are not growing up quickly enough. We were fortunate today and, for periods of the game, we were the better side. But Leeds will be aggrieved that they didn't win that game.
"Straight after half-time, Charlie dropped the ball. Then we had a penalty straight in front of the posts, and four or five other chances. We are not working hard enough when we get into the position. Whether it is arrogance, I don't know but I have asked the question. We need to respect Gloucester Rugby Club more. We will never be a good side unless we stick to the basics of the game."
Leeds head coach Neil Back said he and his team were disappointed at one that got away. "We put ourselves in a position to win it," he said. "Should we have won it? Not with the performance of the first half. There were poor tries conceded and Gloucester did not have to work too hard to score.
"But we are really disappointed that our game management in the last five minutes should have been better. I am sure the referee at the end would have been looking for an opportunity to give a penalty. He found one and gave it. That's a bit of naivety and, through our review process, we will take about that and how to seal a game."