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.
Speaking after the 37-8 European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Benetton Treviso, James Hook admitted that the Italian side made things tough for Gloucester at times but that the Cherry and Whites are happy to take the bonus point win and turn their focus to Northampton next week.
Speaking to GRTV after the game, Backs Coach Tim Taylor was happy with the squad as they cruised to victory over Treviso. The result wasn't in doubt, but the Cherry and Whites laboured to secure a crucial try bonus point.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby centre Matt Scott is excited to take the field again as the Cherry and Whites look to build on the win in Bayonne when Treviso come to Kingsholm this Saturday.
Defence Coach Jonny Bell admitted this week that the European Rugby Challenge Cup victory in Bayonne was a welcome one, stressed that Benetton Treviso will pose a tough test on Saturday at Kingsholm but that Gloucester are determined to deliver in front of their own fans.
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
Gloucester made it two wins from two outings in this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup as they outplayed Benetton Treviso at Kingsholm to win by 37 points to 8, the bonus point try coming with the final play of the game.