DESPITE a brave and committed effort against a vastly experienced side, Gloucester suffered their third successive defeat in the Guinness A League against Saracens.
Although they suffered at the line-out and in the scrum, Gloucester tried exceptionally hard but only had a single Mark Davies penalty to show for their efforts in their 14-3 defeat.
Saracens included Andy Farrell but it was their front five who did the majority of the damage and despite hard working efforts from Adam Balding at number eight, Luke Narraway and Paul Price to name only three in the Gloucester side, they were always up against it.
"I cannot fault the effort or the commitment of any of our players at all," assistant coach Mark Cornwell said. "We were up against a vastly experienced side with plenty of quality, so I am very proud of the way they stood up to the challenge.
"But we must learn to take our opportunites. We created several but failure to finish them off against a side of that power and experience was very costly."
Gloucester also suffered because of some slow service but Jack Adams showed glimpses of his very special abilityin the centre and Jon Goodridge carried hard but Gloucester could not turn their chances into points.
The contest struggled to ignite and although Davies booted Gloucester ahead, they were soon trailing.
Saracens took the lead after 15 minutes when stand-off Alex Goode slid a kick in behind Gloucester's defence and centre Tom Loizides hacked on before Goodridge could sweep up, controlled the ball and touched down.
The rest of the first-half was disjointed. Saracens generally kept the ball better but neither side was immune from making a mistake. Gloucester's best chance came when Rob Thirlby glided down the left before cutting infield but his inside pass was spilt by Mark Davies.
Gloucester needed an early second half try to get back into the game but it was Saracens who scored again. Again Goode's break was the key when he slashed across midfield and full-back Thomas De Vedia scored in the far corner.
It was the cushion Saracens needed and although they lost both Paul Gustard and Tevita Vaikona to the sinbin late on, had enough of a cushion to close out the contest.
Henry Purdy, a first half replacement for Charlie Sharples, was amongst the try scorers in the 64-19 victory over Aviron Bayonnais on Saturday evening and told GRTV that it was a professional performance, one the team are happy with.
Gloucester's win in Treviso last week means that they need a bonus point win against Bayonne on Saturday evening to secure a home quarter-final (kick off 8pm), but Tim Taylor wants the team to focus on the performance first and foremost.
Billy Burns and Man of the Match Richard Hibbard spoke to GRTV after the 41-0 win in Treviso, on a day when preparations weren't ideal. They felt the team's attitude was key and also praised the travelling support.
Following the conclusion of the Stade Francais vs Harlequins game today, round six is complete and the quarter-finalists in the European Rugby Challenge Cup are now known with Gloucester set to welcome the Cardiff Blues to Kingsholm.
Knowing a bonus point win would secure a home quarter-final, Gloucester completed their European mission in some style on Saturday evening, sweeping aside a spirited but outgunned Aviron Bayonnais scoring 10 tries on their way to a 64-19 victory.