Gloucester and France defence coach Dave Ellis offers his views on recent events, talking about last Sunday's Cup semi and this weekend's Six Nations action.
Ellis has a weekly column in the Rugby Times newspaper and his words are in this week's edition, as well as loads of other rugby news from around the game.
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Dave Ellis - Weekly Update
It's hard to take! We were so close to victory and another opportunity to lift the Powergen Cup, only to lose in the final seconds of extra time to our arch rivals Bath. This game had everything, some solid defence, great attacking play combined with 'nail biting' drama at the death.
I know I'm biased because of my affinity to Gloucester, but I don't believe we deserved to lose the game. We were the team who played the most expansive game, with Henry Paul and James Simpson-Daniel in the back line providing a real potent attacking threat.
If Andy Robinson is looking for gifted players he should make a place for Henry in his England team, rather than playing two fly halves who offer no real midfield threat.
'Sinbad' (James Simpson-Daniel) is also developing into a useful outside centre and if he continues his progress and remains consistent, there are very few who can match his skill level in the English game.
Such tight games are often won or lost during three or four incidents in a game - a missed tackle, a wrong option, a piece of skill or just a decision that goes against you.
It's impossible to be critical of our players, their effort and commitment was unrelenting, and we took the game to Bath from the very start. Sadly, rugby's a game that doesn't necessarily reward the more adventurous side and the team who employed a more conservative kicking game will line up against Leeds in the final.
In the final minutes of normal time the referee made three critical decisions. Firstly, in good field position, Peter Buxton was penalised in the lineout for supposedly taking a 'player out'. I've watched it several times and I can't see the offence.
Then after a spilt ball from Matt Perry, we formed a scrum under Bath's posts only to be penalised for taking the scrum up. Again I've watched it on video, the referee is badly positioned and Duncan Bell clearly drives across Gary Powell and forces the scrum up.
Finally we are awarded a penalty within kicking distance, but continued to play rugby. After a couple of unsuccessful phases the official announced advantage over!
It was and still is massively disappointing for everyone involved with the club, none-the-less on a positive note, I felt this was one of Gloucester's finest performances of the season.
We looked threatening at the weekend, whereas previous weeks we have tended to look a little flat in our play. I am hopeful with five games to play, three at home and two away we can pip both Sale and Bath in the Premiership standings, and then who knows what might happen?
After the match on Sunday, I once again packed my bag and headed north to Birmingham Airport for my weekly trip to Paris to meet up with the French squad to prepare for Saturday's encounter with Ireland at Lansdowne Road.
The England management run through their video analysis with the players the following day after an international. I feel this practice is too close after the event, the emotion, whether elation or disappointment impairs a player's (or for that matter a coach's) ability to be analytical or constructive.
The French squad had an analysis video session on the Wales game on Monday of this week, having had well over a week to reflect and it revealed a number of interesting statistics.
Our defence only missed four tackles in the whole of the first half, in the second half we missed 15 tackles, of these 15 missed tackles, 13 occurred during the first five minutes of the restart. Armed with this type of data it is easy to isolate our drop in concentration and address the players accordingly.
If we can put this right, match the Irish forwards up front, I believe the game will be won or lost in the centres with Ireland's powerful combination of Kevin Maggs and Brian O'Driscoll up against Yannick Jauzion and the largely unknown Ludovic Valbon.
I coached Valbon at Begles Bordeaux before he joined Brive, this youngster can play and it will be a fascinating confrontation on Saturday afternoon.
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.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
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).