DEAN RYAN admitted his Gloucester side had 'panicked' as they slipped to a disappointing pre-season defeat against Bayonne tonight.
Despite three Willie Walker penalties, Gloucester went down 30-9 in France and now have only one pre-season game remaining against Glasgow before the start of the Guinness Premiership.
"For 50 minutes we were organised and played within the structure we had talked about," Ryan said. "Our 9-0 lead could have been grown out even further but we then made two or three silly errors, missed a tackle here and there and our reaction to that was panicky.
"We had to try and create things we had not worked on and when you do that in France you get picked off. For 50 minutes it was pleasing but there can be no excuses for mistakes, whether you are a youngster in this environment for the first time or an experienced international.
"When you play for Gloucester it is about operating at a high level consistently and in that respect we should have been more competitive.
"But Bayonne are considerably further down the line than us in terms of preparation and we have never moved away from the fact that pre-season is about trying new players and new combinations.
"I would never offer that as an excuse because there are things to work on but we can move on from this and prepare for our next game."
Gloucester lost hooker Ross McMillan, while Ryan Lamb missed the game through illness.
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
On a tough evening at Kingsholm, Gloucester could escape neither a suffocating Bath defence, nor the whistle of referee Greg Garner as six penalties and a penalty try paved the way to a 39-16 win for the visitors.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).