Gloucester Rugby Head Coach Bryan Redpath acknowledged that the preseason win over Connacht had been a hard fought one but that a tussle wasn't such a bad thing.
Gloucester dominated possession and territory but trailed 12-0 at one point as Connacht scored two long range tries from turnovers.
However, Redpath's side regrouped and scored four tries of their own on their way to a 29-21 victory.
Redpath addressed the media after the game:
"In some aspects I was happy. It was a proper old contest. In the past we've struggled when a game has gone that way."
"We've just spoken about it downstairs and sometimes it's not necessarily what I think but what the players feel and the likes of Hazey, Narraway and Tins have all had a bit to say."
"So, on the whole I was a pretty happy. I was a bit disappointed with some of our control around the breakdown. We got held up a little bit high which meant the ball was really slow but you have to solve that quickly yourselves."
"You can get messages on but the players have to sort it out themselves and we were certainly far more efficient in the first 20 minutes of the second half in terms of clearing the bodies. And some of that was simply down to old school hitting rucks low and hard."
"We deliberately didn't kick for as many goals as we did last week because we wanted to work on our phase play and look at our options and that's what preseason is for."
"The two games have posed different challenges. Last week no-one showed their hand whereas this week was a real contest."
"They didn't really challenge us in the set piece but we made three mistakes which led to three tries and 19 points which was a bit disappointing because I didn't think some of the mistakes needed to happen."
"These things happen. I'd be more concerend if they'd ripped us apart. But we can move forward and critique ourselves. These games are always difficult to assess but it did give us a steer on how we need to improve in the contact area."
The contribution of Akapusi Qera was highlighted by the press with the Fijian international having been sidelined with a knee injury for a large part of last season.
The Head Coach acknowledged that Qera, along with fellow openside flanker Andrew Hazell, have a big role to play this season.
"He was strong in his carry and he hit a few boys in defence. He and Hazey have a massive role to play at the club. It won't be a case of one of them every week until he breaks and then shove in the other. We'll use them both at the appropriate time."
"But Q has certainly trained really hard this summer and got back to where he was before the knee injury."
"And the rules have allowed Hazey to be a big factor again, getting over the ball and making a nuisance of himself!"
The attention then switched to the backline with the centres, and Carlos Spencer in particular, the first topic of discussion.
"He's the ultimate pro and outstanding in his work ethic and he's handled himself well."
"But we've Eliota (Fuimaono-Sapolu) back on Monday and I think we've got a little gem there. He's certainly been a handful for us in the past. He's got great feet and can find the edges rather than just being direct and has a great offload. I'm looking forward to him playing."
Goal kicking has been a subject upon which Redpath has been asked numerous questions this summer but Carlos Spencer and Nicky Robinson have been rising to the challege thus far.
"He (Robinson) only had to kick a couple today! It's not something we've got too excited about. Goalkicking's a bit like top golfers. One day they shoot 68 and the next day 74."
"Both Nicky and Carlos practise very hard. All I can ask is that they kick to the best of their abilities. Nicky's not kicked a lot purely because of Ben Blair at Cardiff."
"They're both taking it very seriously and working hard. They're both approaching this season with the mindset that they'll be front line kickers."
Was the injury to Lesley Vainikolo serious?
"He tweaked his groin chasing back but I'm not too worried. He's got ice on it and is walking around."
"We could well have Morgs back next week and I think Tom Voyce went well this week. He was ill last week but went better today. It's not his natural position but he carried well."
"There were some real positives. Sinbad played 80 again which will give him confidence as did Tins. Generally, I think we're getting closer. But we'll know after Bath, when points matter, just how close we really are!"
"But, overall, I'm fairly happy. It was a contest where we needed a bit of dog back and sometimes you need that rather than the flashy stuff!"
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