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.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees told GRTV after the win in Brive that the game could have been a tough one to get up for, but that his Gloucester team mates did themselves proud on the night and got a big result.
Reflecting on the 31-20 victory in Brive on Thursday evening, Director of Rugby David Humphreys said that clinching a home European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final was the overall aim and duly achieved.
Gloucester may have already clinched a home European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys wants his side to finish the pool stages on a winning note in Brive on Thursday evening.
Speaking after Saturday's win, James Hudson was happy to record a bonus-point win against a hugely physical Oyonnax side as Gloucester secured their passage into the European Rugby Challenge Cup Quarter Finals
Billy Burns was a try scorer on his first European start for Gloucester and, speaking after the game, admitted that it was good to get the five points although there are still things to work on before the trip to Brive.
Connacht's 30-20 win in La Rochelle on Saturday evening means that they are the third best placed runners up and will come to Kingsholm for the quarter-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup in early April.
Gloucester Rugby today confirmed that supporters who have renewed their Club Membership for next season by March 27th 2015 will receive a free ticket for this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final at Kingsholm in April.