Gloucester take nothing for granted

Dean Ryan is refusing to take a Heineken Cup quarter-final place for granted despite Gloucester's relentless march towards the knockout stages. [more]

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Dean Ryan is refusing to take a Heineken Cup quarter-final place for granted despite Gloucester’s relentless march towards the knockout stages.

The Guinness Premiership leaders’ 51-27 victory over Kingsholm visitors Bourgoin means Gloucester need five points from their last two games – against Ospreys and Ulster – to progress.

They visit the Ospreys next month, then host already-eliminated Ulster a week later, suggesting Pool Two is firmly within Gloucester’s grasp.

But head coach Ryan said: "If we lose those two games, then we don’t go through.

"I have maintained our future will be dictated by the last game (against Ulster), and nothing has changed from that."

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Gloucester’s latest Heineken Cup display though, suggests they should not only progress, but probably as top seeds.

Flanker Akapusi Qera, number eight Gareth Delve and full-back Iain Balshaw claimed first-half touchdowns before Willie Walker – on as a replacement for Balshaw – dazzled Bourgoin’s defence by scoring a brilliant solo try.

Fly-half Ryan Lamb amassed 26 points, including all six conversions and a 60-metre interception try, while wing Lesley Vainikolo completed the rout.

It was Vainikolo’s first appearance since he returned to the Gloucester line-up after flying back from New Zealand following a family bereavement.

Ryan added: "We talked a lot about the potential of this game being loose, and if you start throwing the ball around from anywhere against a French side then you are going to be in trouble.

"I thought it was a mixed bag, although we were clinical for the large part."

Ryan paid tribute to accomplished displays by Lamb, Qera and Delve, who were the dominant figures in an entertaining contest.

He said: "Ryan is central to lots of things we are trying to do, and I am pleased with his progress.

"I thought his game was pretty tight today, and Qera is someone who is really good to coach. He picks things up really quickly.

"Gareth Delve has been great for us three games on the trot now. I think he is a fantastic player."

Bourgoin, smashed 49-13 on their last Kingsholm visit, posted tries from wing Matthieu Nicolas, hooker Jean-Philippe Genevois and lock Damien Fevre.

Fly-half Benjamin Boyet slotted two penalties and all three conversions, but Bourgoin were left to reflect on an eighth successive Heineken Cup pool stage exit.

The loss was their 16th Heineken Cup away defeat in a row.

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