DEAN RYAN hailed Gloucester's Middlesex Sevens experience as a valuable success after his experimental squad lost to eventual winners Newcastle in the semi-finals.
The Kingsholm club suffered 26-5 defeat to the Falcons who then went on to beat Worcester in Twickenham's traditional curtain raiser to the season on Saturday.
Ryan's squad contained a mixture of quality sevens players - skippered by Luke Narraway and including James Bailey and Mark Foster - and was complimented by the likes of rookies Dan Norton, Pete Swatkins and Dave Lewis.
"Sevens can be any success you want it to be if you really understand and appreciate what you want to get out of it," Head coach Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk
"If we truly wanted to win the competition we may have selected a different squad but that wasn't our aim - any success we had was going to built around the development of the squad.
"We were obviously disappointed not to make the final having got so close but great credit must go to a number of young players who stepped up from the Academy set-up and a couple who are still at school. As a learning experience it was fantastic for them and guys like Dan Norton did fantastically well.
"We then had players like Luke Narraway, Mark Foster and James Bailey who were in the unfamiliar role as leaders - we wanted to see how they reacted as players and individuals to the extra responsibility because for us that is important in terms of squad development.
"To me, that is what makes the competition a success - it is about growing these players and providing them an opportunity to develop key skills we hope they can take into 15s.
"I was pleased with the way the squad worked together. They were given an opportunity and responded really well to the challenges."
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Speaking to the local media after the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys gave an honest assessment of the game, and expressed his pride in the way his young charges had performed against the title-chasing hosts.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby scrum half Callum Braley is excited by the challenge of the West Country Derby, and the ex-Bristol man reveals the squad will be giving their all.
It was a thriller at Kingsholm on Sunday afternoon, as Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, leveling the scores in the final minute before triumphing in extra time over a spirited Connacht side.
Having defeated Connacht Rugby in dramatic fashion in the first play-off for the final spot in the 2015-16 European Rugby Champions Cup, Gloucester Rugby can confirm ticketing details for next Sunday's game against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways.
Gloucester snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and move on to next weekend's European Champions Cup final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles after a dramatic extra time win over a valiant Connacht side.